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A Maker of History
Guard this fur me,' she whispered." (page 148)
A Maker of History
E. Phillips Oppenheim
Author of "The Master Mummer," "A Prince of Sinners,'
" Mysterious Mr. Sabin," " Anna the Adventuress/'
Illustrated from drawings by Fred Pegram
Little, Brown, and Company
Copyright, igoj, jgo6,
By Little, Brown, and Company.
All rights reserved
Published January, 1906
THE UNIVERSITY PRESS, CAMBRIDGE, U. S. A.
I. An Accidental Spy 1
11. At the Cafe Montmartre 11
III. A Mysterious Disappearance 18
IV. The Falling of the Handkerchief . . 26
V. Love at First Sight ........ 33
VI. The Vanishing Lady 40
VII. The Decoy-House of Europe 48
VIII. " Duncombe's Hold-up" 55
IX. The Story of a Call 64
X. Spencer's Surprise 72
XI. A Word of Warning 80
XII. The Shadowing of Duncombe .... 87
Xin. "Her Voice" 93
XIV. Laughter of Women 101
XV. Miss Fielding from America 107
XVI. Miss Fielding asks a Question .... 115
XVIL George Dunco^ibe's Lie 121
XVIIL " Who are these People ? " 129
XIX. A Hillside Encounter 137
Mr. Fielding in a New Role . . . . 143
A Woman's Cry 151
Lord Runton is Suspicious 160
Her First Kiss 171
The EMriY Room 179
Guy Poynton again 185
An Old Story 192
A Body from the Seine 200
The Insolence of Madame la Marquise 208
The Interviewing of Phyllis .... 217
The Blundering of Andrew 225
Spencer gets his Chance 234
A Political Interlude 243
Arrested ! 251
The Checkmating of Monsieur Louis . 259
The Making of History 267
Ax Old Friend 276
A Newspaper Sensation 285
The Man who saved his Country . . . 294
A Merry Meeting 301
*' ' Guard this for me,' she whispered" . . . Frontispiece
*' ' Is it anything very interesting? '".... Page 12
" He came and stood a few feet away from them " ,, 56
*' 'Go and do your duty,' she commanded, laugh-
ing" n 114
'' Miss Fielding and the Baron were still together " ,,123
^'Duncorabe started back. The girl half rose to
her feet " ?? 1^7
'''You are on the brink of making an idiot of
j'ourself,' Duncombe answered quickly" . . ,, 229
" His hands shook, his teeth chattered " . . . . 9,261
A MAKER OF HISTORY
AN ACCIDENTAL SPY
THE boy sat up and rubbed his eyes. He was stiff,
footsore, and a little chilly. There was no man-
servant arranging his bath and clothes, no pleasant
smell of coffee — none of the small luxuries to which
he was accustomed. On the contrary, he had slept all
night upon a bed of bracken, with no other covering
than the stiff pine needles from the tall black trees,
whose rustling music had lulled him to sleep.
He sat up, and remembered suddenly where he was
and how he had come there. He yawned, and was on
the point of strugghng to his feet when he became
aware of certain changed conditions in his surroundings.
Some instinct, of simple curiosity perhaps, but of far-
reaching effect, led him to crawl back into his hiding-
place and watch.
Last night, after many hours of painful walking,
two things alone had impressed themselves upon his
consciousness : the dark illimitable forest and the
double line of rails, which with the absolute straight-
ness of exact science had stretched behind and in
front till the tree-tops in the far distance seemed to
touch, and the rails themselves to vanish into the black
2 A MAKEK OF HISTOEY
heart of the close-growing pines. For miles he had
limped along the painfully rough track without seeing
the slightest sign of any break in the woods, or any
human being. At last the desire for sleep had overtaken
him. He was a hardy young Englishman, and a night
out of doors in the middle of June under these odorous
pines presented itself merely as a not disagreeable ad-
venture. Five minutes after the idea had occurred to
him he was asleep.
And now in the gray morning he looked out upon a
different scene. Scarcely a dozen yards from him stood
a single travelling-coach of dark green, drawn by a
heavy engine. At intervals of scarcely twenty paces up
and down the line, as far as he could see, soldiers were
stationed like sentries. They were looking sharpl}^ about
in all directions, and he could even hear the footsteps
of others crashing through the wood. From the train
three or four men in long cloaks had already descended.
They were standing in the track talking together.
The young man behind the bracken felt himself in
somewhat of a dilemma. There was a delightful
smell of fresh coffee from the waiting coach, and there
seemed to be not the slightest reason why he should
not emerge from his hiding-place and claim the hospi-
tality of these people. He was a quite harmless person,
with proper credentials, and an adequate explanation
of his presence there. On the other hand, the spirit
of adventure natural to his years strongly prompted
him to remain where he was and watch. He felt
certain that something was going to happen. Besides,
those soldiers had exactly the air of looking for some-
body to shoot !
Whilst he was hesitating, something did happen.
A MAKEE OF HISTOEY 3
There was a shrill whistle, a puiBf of white smoke in the
distance, and another train approached from the opposite
It drew up within a few feet of the one which was
already waiting. Almost immediately half a dozen
men, who were already standing upon the platform of
the car, descended. One of these approached rapidly,
and saluted the central figure of those who had been
talking together in the track. After a few moments'
conversation these two, followed by one other man
only who was carrying a writing portfolio, ascended
the platform of the train which had arrived first and
The young man who was watching these proceedings
" No duel, then ! " he muttered to himself. " I 've
half a mind to go out." Then he caught sight of a
particularly fierce-looking soldier with his finger already
upon the trigger of his gun, and he decided to remain
where he was.
In about half an hour the two men reappeared on
the platform of the car. Simultaneously the window
of the carriage in which they had been sitting was
opened, and the third man was visible, standing before
a small table and arranging some papers. Suddenly he
was called from outside. He thrust his hat upon the
papers, and hastened to obey the summons.
A little gust of breeze from the opening and closing
of the door detached one of the sheets of paper from
the restraining weight of the hat. It fluttered out of
the window and lay for a moment upon the side of the
track. No one noticed it, and in a second or two it
fluttered underneath the clump of bracken behind
4: A MAKEE OF HISTORY
which the young Englishman was hiding. He thrust
out his hand and calmly secured it.
In less than five minutes the place was deserted.
Amidst many hasty farewells, wholly unintelligible to
the watcher, the two groups of men separated and
climbed into their respective trains. As soon as every
one was out of sight the Englishman rose with a little
grunt of satisfaction and stretched himself.
He glanced first at the sheet of paper, and finding it
written in German thrust it into his pocket. Then he
commenced an anxious search for smoking materials,
and eventually produced a pipe, a crumpled packet
of tobacco, and two matches.
" Thank Heaven ! " he exclaimed, lighting up. " And
now for a tramp."
He plodded steadily along the track for an hour or
more. All the time he was in the heart of the forest.
Pheasants and rabbits and squirrels continually crossed
in front of him. Once a train passed, and an excited
guard shouted threats and warnings, to which he replied
in fluent but ineffective English.
" Johnnies seem to think I 'm trespassing ! " he re-
marked to himself in an aggrieved tone. " I can't help
being on their beastly line ! "
Tall, smooth-faced, and fair, he walked with the long
step and lightsome grace of the athletic young English-
man of his day. He was well dressed in tweed clothes,
cut by a good tailor, a little creased by his night out of
doors, but otherwise immaculate. He hiunmed a pop-
ular air to himself, and held his head high. If only he
were not so hungry.
Then he came to a station. It was little more than
a few rows of planks, with a chalet at one end — but a
A MAKEK OF HISTORY 5
very welcome sight confronted him. A little pile of
luggage, with his initials, G. P., was on the end of the
platform nearest to him.
" That conductor was a sensible chap," he exclaimed.
" Glad I tipped him. Hullo ! "
The station-master, in uniform, came hurrying out.
The young Englishman took off his hat, and produced
a phrase book from his pocket. He ignored the stream
of words which the station-master, with many gesticula-
tions, was already pouring out.
" My luggage," he said firmly, laying one hand upon
the pile, and waving the phrase book.
The station-master acquiesced heartily. He waxed
eloquent again, but the Englishman was busy with the
« Hungry ! Hotel ? " he attempted.
The station-master pointed to where the smoke was
curling upwards from a score or so of houses about half a
mile distant. The Englishman was getting pleased with
himself. Outside was a weird-looking carriage, and on
the box seat, fast asleep, was a very fat man in a shiny hat,
ornamented by a bunch of feathers. He pointed to the
luggage, then to the cab, and finally to the village.
" Luggage, hotel, carriage ! " he suggested.
The station-master beamed all over. With a shout,
which must have reached the village, he awakened the
sleeping man. In less than five minutes the English-
man and his luggage were stored away in the carriage.
His ticket had been examined by the station-master,
and smilingly accepted. There were more bows and
salutes, and the carriage drove off. Mr. Guy Poynton
leaned back amongst the mouldy leather upholstery,
and smiled complacently.
6 A MAKER OF HISTORY
"Easiest thing in the world to get on in a foreign
country with a phrase book and your wits," he re-
marked to himself. "Jove, I am hungry!"
He drove into a village of half a dozen houses or so,
which reminded him of the pictured abodes of Noah
and his brethren. An astonished innkeeper, whose
morning attire apparently consisted of trousers, shirt,
and spectacles, ushered him into a bare room with a
trestle table. Guy produced his phrase book.
" Hungr}^ I " he said vociferously. " Want to eat !
The man appeared to miderstand, but in case there
should have been any mistake Guy followed him into
the kitchen. The driver, who had lost no time, was
already there, with a long glass of beer before him.
Guy produced a mark, laid it on the table, touched
himself, the innkeeper, and the driver, and pointed to
the beer. The innkeeper understood, and the beer was
The driver, who had been of course ludicrously over-
paid, settled down in his corner, and announced his
intention of seeing through to the end this most
extraordinary and Heaven-directed occurrence. The
innkeeper and his wife busied themselves with the
breakfast, and Guy made remarks every now and then
from his phrase book, which were usually incompre-
hensible, except when they concerned a further supply
of beer. With a brave acceptance of the courtesies of
the country he had accepted a cigar from the driver,
and was already contemplating the awful moment when
he would have to light it. Just then an interruption
It was something very official, but whether military
A MAKER OF HISTORY 7
or of the police Guy could not tell. It strode into the
room with clanking of spurs, and the driver and inn-
keeper alike stood up in respect. It saluted Guy. Guy
took off his hat. Then there came words, but Guy was
busy with his phrase book.
" I cannot a word of German speak ! " he announced
A deadlock ensued. The innkeeper and the driver
rushed into the breach. Conversation became furious.
Guy took advantage of the moment to slip the cigar
into his pocket, and to light a cigarette. Finally, the
officer swimg himself round, and departed abruptly.
" Dolmetscher," the driver announced to him tri-
" Dolmetscher," the innkeeper repeated.
Guy turned it up in his phrase book, and found that
it meant interpreter. He devoted himself then to stim-
ulating the preparations for breakfast.
The meal was ready at last. There were eggs and
ham and veal, dark-colored bread, and coffee, sufficient
for about a dozen people. The driver constituted him-
self host, and Guy, with a shout of laughter, sat down
where he was, and ate. In the midst of the meal
the officer reappeared, ushering in a small wizened-faced
individual of unmistakably English appearance. Guy
turned round in his chair, and the newcomer touched
" Hullo ! " Guy exclaimed. « You 're English ! "
" Yes, sir I " the man answered. " Came over to train
polo ponies for the Prince of Haepsburg. Not in any
trouble, I hope, sir?"
"Not I," Guy answered cheerily. "Don't mind my
going on with my breakfast, do you? What's it all
8 A MAKER OF HISTORY
about ? Who 's the gentleman with the fireman's helmet
on, and what 's he worrying about ? "
" He is an officer of the police, sir, on special service,"
the man answered. " You have been reported for tres-
passing on the State railway this morning."
" Trespassing be blowed 1 " Guy answered. " I 've got
my ticket for the frontier. We were blocked by signal
about half a dozen miles off this place, and I got down
to stretch my legs. I understood them to say that we
could not go on for half an hour or so. They never
tried to stop my getting down, and then off they went
without any warning, and left me there."
" I will translate to the officer, sir," the man said.
" Eight 1 " Guy declared. " Go ahead."
There was a brisk colloquy between the two. Then
the little man began again.
"He says that your train passed here at midnight,
and that you did not arrive until past six."
" Quite right ! " Guy admitted. " I went to sleep. I
didn't know how far it was to the station, and I was
" The officer wishes to know whether many trains
passed you in the night?"
"Can't say," Guy answered. "I sleep very soundly,
and I never opened my eyes after the first few minutes."
" The officer wishes to know whether you saw any-
thing unusual upon the line?" the little man asked.
" Nothing at all," Guy answered coolly. " Bit inquisi-
tive, is n't he ? "
The little man came closer to the table.
"He wishes to see your passport, sir," he announced.
Guy handed it to him, also a letter of credit and
several other documents.
A MAKER OF HISTORY 9
"He wants to know why you were going to the
frontier, sir ! "
"Sort of fancy to say that I'd been in Eussia,
that's aU!" Guy answered. "You tell him I'm a
perfectly harmless individual Never been abroad
The officer listened, and took notes in his pocketbook
of the passport and letter of credit. Then he departed
with a formal salute, and they heard his horse's hoofs
ring upon the road outside as he galloped away. The
little man came close up to the table.
" You 'U excuse me, sir," he said, " but you seem to
have upset the officials very much by being upon the
line last night. There have been some rumors going
about — but perhaps you 're best not to know that.
May I give you a word of advice, sir ? "
" Let me give you one," Guy declared. " Try this
beer ! "
" I thank you, sir," the man answered. " I will do
so with pleasure. But if you are really an ordinary
tourist, sir, — as I have no doubt you are, — let this
man drive you to Streuen, and take the train for the
Austrian frontier. You may save yourself a good deal
" I '11 do it ! " Guy declared. " Vienna was the next
place I was going to, anyhow. You tell the fellow
where to take me, will you ? "
The man spoke rapidly to the driver.
" I think that you will be followed, sir," he added,
turning to Guy, "but very likely they won't interfere
with you. The railway last night for twenty miles
back was held up for State purposes. We none of us
know why, and it does n't do to be too curious over
10 A :maker of history
here, but they have an idea that you are either a
journalist or a spy."
" Civis Britannicus sum ! " the boy answered, with a
" It does n't quite niean*what it used to, sir," the man
AT THE CAF± MONTMARTRE
EXACTLY a week later, at five minutes after mid-
night, Guy Poynton, in evening dress, entered
the Caf^ Montmartre, in Paris. He made his way
through the heterogeneous little crowd of men and
women who were drinking at the bar, past the scarlet-
coated orchestra, into the inner room, where the tables
were laid for supper. Monsieur Albert, satisfied with
the appearance of his new client, led him at once to a
small table, submitted the wine card, and summoned a
waiter. With some difficulty, as his French was very
little better than his German, he ordered supper, and
then lighting a cigarette, leaned back against the wall
and looked around to see if he could discover any
English or Americans.
The room was only moderately full, for the hour was
a little early for this quarter of Paris. Nevertheless, he
was quick to appreciate a certain spirit of Bohemianism
which pleased him. Every one talked to his neighbor.
An American from the further end of the room raised
his glass and drank his health. A pretty fair-haired
girl leaned over from her table and smiled at him.
" Monsieur like talk with me, eh ? "
"English?" he asked.
He shook his head smilingly.
12 A MAKEE OF HISTOKY
" We should n't get on," he declared. " Can't speak
She raised her eyebrows with a protesting gesture,
but he looked away and opened an illustrated paper
by his side. He turned over the pages idly enough at
first, but suddenly paused. He whistled softly to him-
self and stared at the two photograjjhs which fiUed the
" By Jove !" he said softly to himself.
There was the rustling of skirts close to his table.
An unmistakably English voice addressed him.
" Is it anything very interesting ? Do show me ! "
He looked up. Mademoiselle Elossie, pleased with
his appearance, had paused on her way down the
" Come and sit down, and I '11 show it you ! " he said,
rising. " You 're English, are n't you ? "
Mademoiselle Flossie waved a temporary adieu to
her friends and accepted the invitation. He poured her
out a glass of wine.
" Stay and have supper with me," he begged. " I
must be off soon, but I'm tired of being alone. This
is my last night, thank goodness."
" All right ! " she answered gayly. " I must go back
to my friends directly afterwards."
"Order what you like," he begged. "I can't make
these chaps understand me."
She laughed, and called the waiter.
" And now show me what you were looking at in that
paper," she insisted.
He pointed to the two photographs.
" I saw those two together only a week ago," he said.
" Want to hear about it ? "
Is there anything very interesting?'"
IP age 12
A MAKER OF HISTORY 13
She looked startled for a moment, and a little in-
" Yes, go on ! " she said.
He told her the story. She listened with an interest
which surprised him. Once or twice when he looked up
he fancied that the lady from Vienna was also doing
her best to listen. When he had finished their supper
"I think," she said, as she helped herself to hors
d'cBuvrCy "that you were very fortunate to get away."
He laughed carelessly.
" The joke of it is," he said, " I 've been followed all
the way here. One fellow, who pretended he got in at
Strasburg, was trying to talk to me all the time, but I
saw him sneak in at Vienna, and I was n't having any.
I say, do you come here every evening ? "
" Very often," she answered. " I dance at the Comique,
and then we generally go to Maxim's to supper, and
up here afterwards. " I '11 introduce you to my friends
afterwards, if you like, and we'll all sit together. If
you're very good I'll dance to you!"
"Delighted," he answered, "if they speak English.
I 'm sick of trying to make people understand my rotten
"They speak English all right. I wish that horrid
Viennese girl would n't try to listen to every word we
"She wanted me to sit at her table," he re-
Mademoiselle Flossie looked at him warningly, and
dropped her voice.
14 A MAKER OF HISTORY
" Better be careful ! " she whispered. " They say she 's
" On my track very likely," he declared with a grin.
She threw herself back in her seat and laughed.
" Conceited ! Why should any one want to be on
your track ? Come and see me dance at the Comique
" Can't," he declared. " My sister 's coming over from
" Oh, I '11 come one night," he declared. " Order some
cofifee, won't you — and what liqueurs ? "
" 1 11 go and fetch my friends," she declared, rising.
"We'll all have coffee together."
" Who are they ? " he asked.
She pointed to a little group down the room — two
men and a woman. The men were French, one middle-
aged and one young, dark, immaculate, and with the
slightly bored air affected by young Frenchmen of
fashion; the woman was strikingly handsome and
magnificently dressed. They were quite the most dis-
tinguished-looking people in the room.
" If you think they '11 come," he remarked doubtfully.
" Are n't we rather comfortable as we are ? "
She made her way between the tables.
" Oh, they 11 come," she declared. " They 're pals ! "
She floated down the room with a cigarette in her
mouth, very graceful in her airy muslin skirts and large
hat. Guy followed her admiringly with his eyes. The
Viennese lady suddenly tore off a comer of her menu
and scribbled something quickly. She passed it over
" Eead ! " she said imperatively.
A MAKER OF HISTOEY 15
He nodded, and opened it.
" Prenez garde ! " he said slowly. Then he looked at
her and shook his head. She was making signs to him
to destroy her message, and he at once did so.
" Don't miderstand ! " he said. " Sorry ! "
Mademoiselle Flossie was laughing and talking with
her friends. Presently they rose, and came across the
room with her. Guy stood up and bowed. The intro-
ductions were informal, but he felt his insular prejudices
a little shattered by the delightful ease with which these
two Frenchmen accepted the situation. Their breeding
was as obvious as their honliomie. The table was speed-
ily rearranged to find places for them all.
" Your friends will take coffee with me, Mademoiselle,"
Guy said. "Do be hostess, please. My attempts at
French will only amuse everybody."
The elder of the two Frenchmen, whom the waiter
addressed as Monsieur le Baron, and every one else as
Louis, held up his hand.
" With pleasure ! " he declared, " later on. Just now
it is too early. We will celebrate V entente cordiale.
Gargon, a magnum of Pommery, un neu frappe/ I
know you will forgive the liberty," he said, smiling at
Guy. " This bottle is vowed. Flossie has smiled for
the first time for three evenings."
She threw a paper fan at him, and sat down again
"Do tell" him the story you told me," she whispered in
his ear. " Louis, listen ! "
Guy retold his story. Monsieur le Baron listened
intently. So did the lady who had accompanied him.
Guy felt that he told it very well, but for the second
time he omitted all mention of that missing sheet of
16 A MAKER OF HISTORY
paper which had come into his possession. Monsieur
le Baron was obviously much interested.
" You are quite sure — of the two men ? " he asked
" Quite 1 " Guy answered confidently. " One was
Madame — Flossie's friend — dropped a wineglass.
Monsieur le Baron raised his hand.
" No names," he said. " It is better not. We under-
stand. A most interesting adventure, Monsieur Poynton,
and — to your health ! "
The wine was good, and the fun of the place itself
went almost to the head. Always there were new-
comers who passed down the room amidst a chorus of
greetings, always the gayest of music. Then amidst
cheers Flossie and another friend whom she called
from a distant table danced a cake-walk — danced very
gracefully, and with a marvellous display of rainbow
skirts. She came back breathless, and threw herself
down by Guy's side.
" Give me some more wine ! " she panted. " How
close the place is ! "
The younger Frenchman, who had scarcely spoken,
" An idea ! " he exclaimed. " My automobile is out-
side. I will drive you all round the city. Monsieur
Poynton shall see Paris undressed. Afterwards we will
go to Louis' rooms and make his man cook us a dejeuner
Flossie stood up and laughed.
" Who '11 lend me a coat ? " she cried. " I 've nothing
but a lace mantle."
" Plenty of Frenchmen in the car," the young French-
A MAKEK OF HISTOEY 17
man cried. "Are we all agreed? Good! Gargon,
V addition ! "
" And mine," Guy ordered.
The women departed for their wraps. Guy and the
two Frenchmen filled their pockets with cigarettes.
When the bills came Guy found that his own was a
trifle, and Monsieur Louis waved aside all protest.
*'We are hosts to-night, my young friend," he de-
clared with charming insistence. "Another time you
shall have your turn. You must come round to the
club to-morrow, and we will arrange for some sport.
Allons ! "
They crowded out together amidst a chorus of fare-
wells. Guy took Flossie's arm going down the stairs.
" I say, I 'm awfully obliged to you for introducing me
to your friends," he declared. " I 'm having a ripping
" Oh, they 're all right," she declared. " Mind my
skirts ! "
" I say, what does ' prenez garde ' mean ? " he asked.
«*Take care.' Why?"
He laughed again.
A MYSTERIOUS DISAPPEARANCE
" ivr^^'^^^^^^^^^'" ^^^ ^^^°? ^^^ ^^^^' ^^^^^ ^^
XtX air of somewhat weary politeness, " I regret to
say that there is nothing more to be done ! "
He was grieved and polite because Mademoiselle
was beautiful and in trouble. For the rest he was a
little tired of her. Brothers of twenty-one, who have
never been in Paris before, and cannot speak the
language, must occasionally get lost, and the Brit-
ish Embassy is not exactly a transported Scotland
"Then," she declared, with a vigorous little stamp
of her shapely foot, "I don't see what we keep an
Ambassador here for at all — or any of you. It is
scandalous 1 "
The Hon. Nigel Fergusson dropped his eyeglass and
surveyed the young lady attentively.
" My dear Miss Poynton," he said, " I will not pre-
sume to argue with you. We are here, I suppose, for
some purpose or other. Whether we fulfil it or not
may well be a matter of opinion. But that purpose
is certainly not to look after any young idiot —
you must excuse my speaking plainly — who runs
amuck in this most fascinating city. In your case
the Chief has gone out of his way to help you. He
has interviewed the chief of police himself, brought
his influence to bear in various quarters, and I can
A MAKER OF HISTORY 19
tell you conscientiously that eveiy^thing which possibly
can be done is being done at the present moment. If
you wish for my advice it is this: Send for some
friend to keep you company here, and try to be patient.
You are in all probability making yourself needlessly
She looked at him a little reproachfully. He noticed,
however, with secret joy that she was drawing on her
" Patient ! He was to meet me here ten days ago.
He arrived at the hotel. His clothes are all there,
and his bill unpaid. He went out the night of his
arrival, and has never returned. Patient! Well, I
am much obliged to you, Mr. Fergusson. I have no
doubt that you have done all that your duty required.
"Good afternoon. Miss Po}Titon, and don't be too
despondent. Remember that the French police are the
cleverest in the world, and they are working for you."
She looked up at him scornfully.
"Police, indeed!" she answered. "Do you know
that all they have done so far is to keep sending for
me to go and look at dead bodies down at the Morgue ?
I think that I shall send over for an English detective."
" You might do worse," he answered ; " but in any
case. Miss Poynton, I do hope that you will send over
for some friend or relation to keep you company.
Paris is scarcely a fit place for you to be alone and
" Thank you," she said. " I will remember what you
The young man watched her depart with a curious
mixture of relief and regret.
20 A MAKEE OF HISTORY
" The young fool 's been the usual round, I suppose,
and he *s either too much ashamed of himself or too
besotted to turn up. I wish she was n't quite so devil-
ish good-looking," he remarked to himself. " If she
goes about alone she '11 get badly scared before she 's
Phyllis Poynton drove straight back to her hotel
and went to her room. A sympathetic chambermaid
followed her in.
" Mademoiselle has news yet of her brother ? " she
Mademoiselle shook her head. Indeed her face was
" None at all, Marie."
The chambermaid closed the door.
"It would help Mademoiselle, perhaps, if she knew
where the young gentleman spent the evening before
he disappeared?" she inquired mysteriously.
" Of course ! That is just what I want to find out."
" There is a young man here in the barber's shop,
Mademoiselle," she announced. "He remembers Mon-
sieur Poynton quite well. He went in there to be
shaved, and he asked some questions. I think if Mad-
emoiselle were to see him ! "
The girl jumped up at once.
" Do you know his name ? " she asked.
" Monsieur Alphonse, they call him. He is on duty
Phillis Poynton descended at once to the ground
floor of the hotel, and pushed open the glass door which
led into the coiffeur's shop. Monsieur Alphonse was
waiting upon a customer, and she was given a chair. In
A MAKER OF HISTOEY 21
a few minutes he descended the spiral iron staircase and
desired to know Mademoiselle's pleasure.
" You speak English ? " she asked.
" But certainly, Mademoiselle."
She gave a little sigh of relief.
" I wonder," she said, " if you remember waiting upon
my brother last Thursday week. He was tall and
fair, and something like me. He had just arrived in
Monsieur Alphonse smiled. He rarely forgot a face,
aud the young Englishman's tip had been munificent.
" Perfectly, Mademoiselle," he answered. " They sent
for me because Monsieur spoke no French."
" My chambermaid, Marie, told me that you might
perhaps know how he proposed to spend the evening,"
she continued. " He was quite a stranger in Paris, aud
he may have asked for some information."
Monsieur Alphonse smiled, and extended his hands.
" It is quite true," he answered. " He asked me
where to go, and I say to the Folies Berg^res. Then
he said he had heard a good deal of the supper caf^s, and
he asked me which was the most amusing. I tell him
the Caf^ Montmartre. He wrote it down."
" Do you think that he meant to go there ? " she asked.
"But certainly. He promised to come and tell me
the next day how he amused himself."
" The Caf^ Montmartre. Where is it ? " she asked.
" In the Place de Montmartre. But Mademoiselle
pardons — she will understand that it is a place for
" Are women not admitted ? " she asked.
"But — yes. Only Mademoiselle understands that
22 A MAKER OF HISTORY
if a lady should go there she would need to be very well
She rose and slipped a coin into his hand.
" I am very much obliged to you," she said. " By
the bye, have any other people made inquiries of you
concerning my brother ? "
" No one at all. Mademoiselle ! " the man answered.
She almost slammed the door behind when she went
" And they say that the French police are the clever-
est in the world," she exclaimed indignantly.
Monsieur Alphonse watched her through the glass
" Ciel ! But she is pretty ! " he murmured to him-
She turned into the writing-room, and taking off her
gloves she wrote a letter. Her pretty fingers were
innocent of rings, and her handwriting was a little
shaky. Nevertheless, it is certain that not a man
passed through the room who did not find an excuse
to steal a second glance at her. This is what she
wrote : —
" My dear Andrew, — I am in great distress here,
and very unhappy. I should have written to you be-
fore, but I know that you have your own trouble to
bear just now, and I hated to bother you. I arrived here
punctually on the date arranged upon between Guy and
myself, and found that he had arrived the night before,
and had engaged a room for me. He was out when I
came. I changed ray clothes and sat down to wait for
him. He did not return. I made inquiries and found that
A MAKEK OF HISTORY 23
he had left the hotel at eight o'clock the previous even-
ing. To cut the matter short, ten days have now-
elapsed and he has not yet returned.
" I have been to the Embassy, to the police, and to the
Morgue. Nowhere have I found the slightest trace of
him. No one seems to take the least interest in his dis-
appearance. The police shrug their shoulders, and look at
me as though I ought to understand — he will return
very shortly they are quite sure. At the Embassy
they have begun to look upon me as a nuisance. The
Morgue — Heaven send that I may one day forget the
horror of my hasty visits there. I have come to the
conclusion, Andrew, that I must search for him myself.
How, I do not know ; where, I do not know. But I
shall not leave Paris until I have found him.
"Andrew, what I want is a friend here. A few
months ago I should not have hesitated a moment to ask
you to come to me. To-day that is impossible. Your
presence here would only be an embarrassment to both
of us. Do you know of any one who would come ? I
have not a single relative whom I can ask to help me.
Would you advise me to write to Scotland Yard for a
detective, or go to one of these agencies ? If not, can
you think of any one who would come here and help
me, either for your sake as your friend, or, better still,
a detective who can speak French and whom one can
trust ? All our lives Guy and I have congratulated our-
selves that we have no relation nearer than India. I
am finding out the other side of it now.
" I know that you will do what you can for me, An-
drew. Write to me by return,
" Yours in great trouble and distress,
" Phyllis Poynton."
24 A MAKEK OF HISTORY
She sealed and addressed her letter, and saw it de-
spatched. Afterwards she crossed the courtyard to the
restaurant, and did her best to eat some dinner. Wlien
she had finished it was only half-past eight. She rang
for the lift and ascended to the fourth floor. On her
way down the corridor a sudden thought struck her.
She took a key from her pocket and entered the room
which her brother had occupied.
His things were still lying about in some disorder, and
neither of his trunks was locked. She went down on her
knees and calmly proceeded to go through his belong-
ings. It was rather a forlorn hope, but it seemed to her
just possible that there might be in some of his pockets
a letter which would throw light upon his disappearance.
She found nothing of the sort, however. There were
picture postcards, a few photographs, and a good many
restaurant bills, but they were all from places in Ger-
many and Austria. At the bottom of the second trunk,
however, she found something which he had evidently
considered it worth while to preserve carefully. It was
a thick sheet of official-looking paper, bearing at the top
an embossed crown, and covered with German writing.
It was numbered at the top " seventeen," and it was
evidently an odd sheet of some document. She folded
it carefully up, and took it back with her to her own
room. Then, with the help of a German dictionary, she
commenced to study it. At the end of an hour she had
made out a rough translation, which she read carefully
through. When she had finished she was thoroughly
perplexed. She had an uncomfortable sense of having
come into touch with something wholly unexpected and
"What am I to do ? " she said to herself softly.
A MAKER OF HISTORY 25
"What can it mean? Where on earth can Guy —
have found this ? "
There was no one to answer her, no one to advise. An
overwhelming sense of her own loneliness brought the
tears into her eyes. She sat for some time with her
face buried in her hands. Then she rose up, calmly
destroyed her translation with minute care, and locked
away the mysterious sheet at the bottom of her dressing-
bag. The more she thought of it the less, after all, she
felt inclined to connect it with his disappearance.
THE FALLING OF THE HANDKERCHIEF
MONSIEUE ALBERT looked over her shoulder for
the man who must surely be in attendance — but
he looked in vain.
" Mademoiselle wishes a table — for herself alone 1 "
he repeated doubtfully.
"If you please," she answered.
It was obvious that Mademoiselle was of the class
which does not frequent night caf^s alone, but after
all that was scarcely Monsieur Albert's concern. She
came perhaps from that strange land of the free, whose
daughters had long ago kicked over the barriers of
sex with the same abandon that Mademoiselle Flossie
would display the soles of her feet a few hours later in
their national dance. If she had chanced to raise her
veil no earthly persuasions on her part would have
secured for her the freedom of that little room, for
Monsieur Albert's appreciation of likeness was equal to
his memory for faces. But it was not until she was
comfortably ensconced at a corner table, from which she
had a good view of the room, that she did so, and Mon-
sieur Albert realized with a philosophic shrug of the
shoulders the error he had committed.
Phyllis looked about her with some curiosity. It was
too early for the habitues of the place, and most of the
tables were empty. The scarlet-coated band were smok-
ing cigarettes, and had not yet produced their instru-
A MAKEK OF HISTOKY
ments. The conductor curled his black moustache
stared hard at the beautiful young English lady, wi^
out, however, being able to attract a single glance in
return. One or two men also tried to convey to her by
smiles and glances the fact that her solitude need con-
tinue no longer than she chose. The unattached ladies
put their heads together and discussed her with little
peals of laughter. To all of these things she remained
indifferent. She ordered a supper which she ate me-
chanically, and wine which she scarcely drank. All the
while she was considering. Now that she was here what
could she do ? Of whom was she to make inquuies ?
She scanned the faces of the newcomers with a cer-
tain grave curiosity which puzzled them. She neither
invited nor repelled notice. She remained entnely at
Monsieur Albert, during one of his peregrinations
round the room, passed close to her table. She stopped
"I trust that Mademoiselle is well served!" he re-
marked with a little bow.
" Excellently, I thank you," she answered.
He would have passed on, but she detained him.
"You have very many visitors here," she remarked.
" Is it the same always ? "
"To-night," he declared, "it is nothing. There are
many who come here every evening. They amuse
" You have a good many strangers also ? " she asked.
" But certainly," he declared, " All the time I "
" I have a brother," she said, " who was here eleven
nights ago — let me see — that would be last Tuesday
28 A MAKEE OF HISTOEY
week. He is tall and fair, about twenty-one, and they
say like me. I wonder if you remember him."
Monsieur Albert shook his head slowly.
" That is strange," he declared, " for as a rule I forget
no one. Last Tuesday week I remember perfectly well.
It was a quiet evening. La Scala was here — but of the
rest no one. If Mademoiselle's brother was here it is
Her lip quivered for a moment. She was disappointed.
" I am so sorry," she said. " I hoped that you might
have been able to help me. He left the Grand Hotel
on that night with the intention of coming here — and
he never returned. I have been very much worried
She was no great judge of character, but Monsieur
Albert's sympathy did not impress her with its sincerity.
"If Mademoiselle desires," he said, "I will make
inquiries amongst the waiters. I very much fear, how-
ever, that she will obtain no news here."
He departed, and Phyllis watched him talking to
some of the waiters and the leader of the orchestra.
Presently he returned.
" I am very sorry," he announced, " but the brother of
Mademoiselle could not have come here. I have in-
quired of the garcons, and of Monsieur Jules there, who
forgets no one. They answer all the same."
" Thank you very much," she answered. " It must
have been somewhere else!"
She was unreasonably disappointed. It had been a very
slender chance, but at least it was something tangible. She
had scarcely expected to have it snapped so soon and so
thoroughly. She dropped her veil to hide the tears which
she felt were not far from her eyes, and summoned
A MAKER OF HISTORY 29
the waiter for her bill. There seemed to be no object
in staying longer. Suddenly the unexpected happened.
A hand, flashing with jewels, was rested for a mo-
ment upon her table. When it was withdrawn a scrap
of paper remained there.
Phyllis looked up in amazement. The girl to whom
the hand had belonged was sitting at the next table,
but her head was turned away, and she seemed to be
only concerned in watching the door. She drew the
scrap of paper towards her and cautiously opened it.
This is what she read, written in English, but with a
foreign turn to most of the letters : —
"Monsieur Albert lied. Your brother was here.
"Wait till I speak to you."
Instinctively she crumpled up this strange little note
in her hand. She struggled hard to maintain her com-
posure. She had at once the idea that every one in the
place was looking at her. Monsieur Albert, indeed, on
his way down the room wondered what had driven the
hopeless expression from her face.
The waiter brought her bill. She paid it and tipped
him with prodigality which for a woman was almost
reckless. Then she ordered coffee, and after a sec-
ond's hesitation cigarettes. Why not ? Nearly all the
women were smoking, and she desired to pass for the
moment as one of them. For the first time she ventured
to gaze at her neighbor.
It was the young lady from Vienna. She was dressed
in a wonderful demi-toilette of white lace, and she wore
a large picture hat adjusted at exactly the right angle
for her profile. From her throat and bosom there
flashed the sparkle of many gems — the finger which
held her cigarette was ablaze with diamonds. She leaned
^0 A MAKEE OF HISTOEY
back in her seat smoking lazily, and she met Phyllis's
furtive gaze with almost insolent coldness. But a mo-
ment later, when Monsieur Albert's back was turned,
she leaned forward and addressed her rapidly.
"A man will come here," she said, "who could tell
you, if he was willing, all that you seek to know. He
will come to-night — he comes all the nights. You will
see I hold my handkerchief so in my right hand. When
he comes I shall drop it — so ! "
The gui's swift speech, her half-fearful glances
towards the door, puzzled Phyllis.
" Can you not come nearer to me and talk ? " she
" No ! You must not speak to me again. You must
not let any one, especially the man himself, know what
I have told you. No more now. Watch for the hand-
kerchief ! "
" But what shall I say to him ? "
The girl took no notice of her. She was looking
in the opposite direction. She seemed to have edged
away as far as possible from her. Phyllis drew a long
She felt her heart beating with excitement. The
place suddenly seemed to her like part of a nightmare.
And then all was clear again. Fortune was on her
side. The secret of Guy's disappearance was in this
room, and a few careless words from the girl at the next
table had told her more than an entire police system
had been able to discover. But why the mystery?
What was she to say to the man when he came ? The
girl from Vienna was talking to some friends and toy-
ing carelessly with a little morsel of lace which she had
drawn from her bosom. Phyllis watched it with the
A MAKER OF HISTOEY 81
eyes of a cat. Every now and then she watched also
The place was much fuller now. Mademoiselle
Flossie had arrived with a small company of friends
from Maxim's. The music was playing all the time.
The popping of corks was almost incessant, the volume
of sound had swelled. The laughter and greeting of
friends betrayed more abandon than earlier in the even-
ing. Old acquaintances had been renewed, and new
ones made. Mademoiselle from Vienna was surrounded
by a little circle of admirers. Still she held in her right
hand a crumpled up little ball of lace.
Men passing down the room tried to attract the atten-
tion of the beautiful young English demoiselle who
looked out upon the little scene so indifferently as re-
garded individuals, and yet with such eager interest as
a whole. No one was bold enough, however, to make a
second effort. Necessity at times gives birth to a swift
capacity. Fresh from her simple country life, Phyllis
found herself still able with effortless serenity to con-
found the most hardened boulevarders who paused to
ogle her. Her eyes and lips expressed with ease the
most convincing and absolute indifference to their ap-
proaches. A man may sometimes brave anger ; he rarely
has courage to combat indifference. So Phyllis held her
own and waited.
And at last the handkerchief fell. Phyllis felt her
own Heart almost stop beating, as she gazed down the
room. A man of medium height, dark, distinguished,
was slowly approaching her, exchanging greetings on
every side. His languid eyes fell upon Phyllis. Those
who had watched her previously saw then a change.
The cold indifference had vanished from her face. She
32 A MAKEB OF HISTORY
leaned forward as though anxious to attract his atten-
tion. She succeeded easily enough.
He was almost opposite her' table, and her half smile
seemed to leave him but little choice. He touched the
back of the chair which fronted hers, and took off his
" Mademoiselle permits ? " he asked softly.
" But certainly," she answered. " It is you for whom
I have been waiting ! "
" Mademoiselle flatters me ! " he murmured, more
than a little astonished.
" jSTot in the least," she answered. " I have been wait-
ing to ask you what has become of my brother — Guy
Poynton ! "
He drew out the chair and seated himself. His eyes
never left her face.
" Mademoiselle," he murmured, " this is most extraor-
dinary ! "
She noticed then that his hands were trembling.
LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT
" T AM asking a great deal of you, George ! I know
I it. But you see how helpless I am — and read
the letter — read it for yourself."
He passed Phyllis's letter across the small round dining-
table. His guest took it and read it carefully through.
" How old is the young lady ? " he asked.
« Twenty-three ! "
« And the boy ? "
" Orphans, I think you said ? "
" Orphans and relationless."
Buncombe leaned back in his chair and sipped his
" It is an extraordinary situation ! " he remarked.
" Extraordinary indeed," his friend assented. " But so
far as I am concerned you can see how I am fixed. I
am older than either of them, but I have always been
their nearest neighbor and their most intimate friend.
If ever they have needed advice they have come to me
for it. If ever I have needed a day's shooting for myself
or a friend I have gone to them. This Continental tour
of theirs we discussed and planned out, months before-
hand. If my misfortune had not come on just when it
did I should have gone with them, and even up to the
34 A MAKEE OF HISTORY
last we hoped that I might be able to go to Paris with
" Tell me about the boy," he said.
His host shrugged his shoulders.
"You know what they're like at that age," he re-
marked. " He was at Harrow, but he shied at college,
and there was no one to insist upon his going. The
pair of them had only a firm of lawyers for guar-
dians. He 's just a good-looking, clean-minded, high-
spirited young fellow, full of beans, and needing the
bit every now and then. But, of course, he 's no dif-
ferent from the run of young fellows of his age, and
if an adventure came his way I suppose he'd see it
" And the girl ? "
Andrew Pelham rose from his seat.
" I will show you her photograph," he said.
He passed into an inner room divided from the
dining-room by curtains. In a moment or two he
" Here it is ! " he said, and laid a picture upon the
Now Duncombe was a young man who prided him-
self a little on being unimpressionable. He took up the
picture with a certain tolerant interest and examined it,
at first VTithout any special feeling. Yet in a moment
or two he felt himself grateful for those great disfigur-
ing glasses from behind which his host was temporarily,
at least, blind to all that passed. A curious disturbance
seemed to have passed into his blood. He felt his eyes
brighten, and his breath come a little quicker, as he
unconsciously created in his imagination the living
A MAKER OF HISTOEY 35
presentment of the girl whose picture he was still hold-
ing. Tall she was, and slim, with a soft, white throat,
and long, graceful neck; eyes rather darker than her
complexion warranted, a little narrow, but bright as
stars — a mouth with the divine lines of humor and
understanding. It was only a picture, but a realization
of the living image seemed to be creeping in upon him.
He made the excuse of seeking a better light, and moved
across to a distant lamp. He bent over the picture,
but it was not the picture which he saw. He saw the
girl herself, and even with the half-formed thought
he saw her expression change. He saw her eyes lit
with sorrow and appeal — he saw her arms outstretched
towards him — he seemed even to hear her soft cry.
He knew then what his answer would be to his friend's
prayer. He thought no more of the excuses which he
had been building in his mind ; of all the practical
suggestions which he had been prepared to make.
Common-sense died away within him. The matter-of-
fact man of thirty was ready to tread in the footsteps
of this great predecessor, and play the modern knight-
errant with the whole-heartedness of Don Quixote him-
self. He fancied himself by her side, and his heart
leaped with joy of it. He thought no more of aban-
doned cricket matches and neglected house parties. A
finger of fire had been laid upon his somewhat torpid
flesh and blood.
" Wen ? " Andrew asked.
Duncombe returned to the table, and laid the picture
down with a reluctance which he could scarcely conceal.
" Very nice photograph," he remarked. " Taken
" I took it myself," Andrew answered. " I used to
S& A MAKEE OF HISTORY
be rather great at that sort of thing before — before my
eyes went dicky."
Duncombe resumed his seat. He helped himself to
another glass of wine.
" I presume," he said, " from the fact that you call
yourself their nearest friend, that the young lady is not
engaged ? "
" No," Andrew answered slowly. " She is not en-
Something a little different in his voice caught his
friend's attention. Duncombe eyed him keenly. He
was conscious of a sense of apprehension. He leaned
over the table.
" Do you mean, Andrew ? " he asked hoarsely.
" Do you mean ? "
" Yes, I mean that," his friend answered quietly.
" Nice sort of old fool, am I not ? I 'm twelve years
older than she is, I'm only moderately well off and
less than moderately good-looking. But after all I 'm
only human, and I 've seen her grow up from a fresh,
charming child into one of God's wonderful women.
Even a gardener, you know, George, loves the roses he
has planted and watched over. I 've taught her a little
and helped her a little, and I Ve watched her cross the
" Does she know ? "
Andrew shook his head doubtfully.
" I think," he said, " that she was beginning to guess.
Three months ago I should have spoken — but my
trouble came. I did n't mean to tell you this, but
perhaps it is as well that you should know. You can
understand now what I am suffering. To think of her
there alone almost maddens me."
A MAKER OF HISTORY 37
Duncombe rose suddenly from his seat.
" Come out into the garden, Andrew," he said. " I feel
His host rose and took Duncombe's arm. They passed
out through the French window on to the gravel path
which circled the cedar-shaded lawn. A shower had
fallen barely an hour since, and the air was full of
fresh delicate fragrance. Birds were singing in the
dripping trees, blackbirds were busy in the grass. The
perfume from the wet lilac shrubs was a very dream of
sweetness. Andrew pointed across a park which sloped
down to the garden boundary.
" Up there, amongst the elm trees, George," he said,
" can you see a gleam of white ? That is the Hall, just
to the left of the rookery."
" Yes," he said, " I can see it."
"Guy and she walked down so often after dinner,"
he said quietly. " I have stood here and watched them.
Sometimes she came alone. What a long time ago that
seems ! "
Duncombe's grip upon his arm tightened.
" Andrew," he said, " I can't go ! "
There was a short silence. Andrew stood quite still.
All around them was the soft weeping of dripping
shrubs. An odorous whiff from the walled rose-garden
floated down the air.
" I 'm sorry, George ! It 's a lot to ask you, I know."
" It is n't that ! "
Andrew turned his head toward his friend. The tone
" I don't understand."
" No wonder, old fellow ! I don't understand myself."
38 A MAKER OF HISTORY
There was another short silence. Andrew stood with
his almost sightless eyes turned upon his friend, and
Buncombe was looking up through the elm trees to the
Hall. He was trying to fancy her as she must have
appeared to this man who dwelt alone, walking down
the meadow in the evening.
" No," he repeated softly, " I don't understand myself.
You 've known me for a long time, Andrew. You
wouldn't write me down as altogether a sentimental
ass, would you ? "
" I should not, George. I should never even use the
word ' sentimental ' in connection with you."
Duncombe turned and faced him squarely. He laid
his hands upon his friend's shoulders.
" Old man," he said, " here 's the truth. So far as
a man can be said to have lost his heart without
rhyme or reason, I've lost mine to the girl of that
Andrew drew a quick breath.
" Eubbish, George ! " he exclaimed. " Why, you never
saw her. You don't know her ! "
" It is quite true," Duncombe answered. " And yet —
I have seen her picture."
His friend laughed queerly.
"You, George Duncombe, in love with a picture.
Stony-hearted George, we used to call you. I can't
believe it ! I can't take you seriously. It 's all rot,
you know, is n't it ! It must be rot ! "
"It sounds like it," Duncombe answered quietly.
" Put it this way, if you like. I have seen a picture
of the woman whom, if ever I meet, I most surely shall
love. What there is that speaks to me from that pic-
ture I do not know. You say that only love can beget
A MAKER OF HISTORY 39
love. Then there is that in the picture which points
beyond. You see, I have talked like this in an attempt
to be honest. You have told me that you care for her.
Therefore I have told you these strange things. Now do
you wish me to go to Paris, for if you say yes I shall
surely go 1 "
Again Andrew laughed, and this time his mirth
sounded more natural.
" Let me see," he said. " We drank Pontet Canet for
dinner. You refused liqueurs, but I think you drank
two glasses of port. George, what has come over you ?
What has stirred your slow-moving blood to fancies like
these ? Bah ! We are playing with one another. Lis-
ten ! For the sake of our friendship, George, I beg you
to grant me this great favor. Go to Paris to-morrow and
" You mean it ? "
"God knows I do. If ever I took you seriously,
George — if ever I feared to lose the woman I love —
well, I should be a coward for my own sake to rob
her of help when she needs it so greatly. Be her
friend, George, and mine. For the rest the fates must
provide ! "
" The fates ! " Buncombe answered. " Ay, it seems to
me that they have been busy about my head to-night.
It is settled, then. I will go ! "
THE VANISHING LADY
AT precisely half -past nine on the following evening
Duncombe alighted from his joetite voiture in the
courtyard of the Grand Hotel, and making his way into
the office engaged a room. And then he asked the ques-
tion which a hundred times on the way over he had
imagined himself asking. A man to whom nervousness
in any shape was almost unknown, he found himself
only able to control his voice and manner with the
greatest difficulty. In a few moments he might see her.
" You have a young English lady — Miss Poynton —
staying here, I believe," he said. " Can you tell me if
she is in now ? "
The clerk looked at him with sudden interest.
" Miss Poynton is staying here, sir," he said. " I do
not believe that she is in just now. Will you wait one
moment ! "
He disappeared rapidly, and was absent for several
minutes. When he returned he came out into the recep-
" The manager would be much obliged if you would
step into his office for a moment, sir," he said confiden-
tially. " Will you come this way ? "
Duncombe followed him into a small room behind the
counter. A gray-haired man rose from his desk and
saluted him courteously.
A MAKER OF IIISTOEY 41
" Sir George Buncombe, I believe," he said. " Will
you kindly take a seat?"
Duncombe did as he was asked. All the time he felt
that the manager was scrutinizing him curiously.
" Your clerk," he said, " told me that you wished to
speak to me."
" Exactly 1 " the manager answered. " You inquired
when you came in for Miss Poynton. May I ask —
are you a friend of hers ? "
"I am here on behalf of her friends," Duncombe
answered. "I have letters to her."
The manager bowed gravely.
"I trust," he said, "that you will soon have an
opportunity to deliver them. We are not, of course,
responsible in any way for the conduct or doings of
our clients here, but I am bound to say that both the
young people of the name you mention have been the
cause of much anxiety to us."
" What do you mean ? " Duncombe asked quickly.
" Mr. Guy Poynton," the manager continued, " arrived
here about three weeks ago, and took a room for
himself and one for his sister, who was to arrive on
the following day. He went out that same evening,
and has never since returned. Of that fact you are
no doubt aware."
Duncombe nodded impatiently.
" Yes ! " he said. " That is why I am here."
" His sister arrived on the following day, and was
naturally very distressed. We did all that we could
for her. We put her in the way of communicating with
the police and the Embassy here, and we gave her every
assistance that was possible. Four nights ago Mademoi-
selle went out late. Since then we have seen nothing
of her. Mademoiselle also has disappeared,"
42 A MAKER OF HISTORY
Buncombe sprang to his feet. He was suddenly pale.
" Good God ! " he exclaimed. " Four nights ago !
She went out alone, you say ? "
" How else ? She had no friends here. Once or
twice at my suggestion she had taken one of our guides
with her, but she discontinued this as she fancied that
it made her conspicuous. She was all the time going
round to places making inquiries about her brother."
Duncombe felt himself suddenly precipitated into a
new world — a nightmare of horrors. He was no stranger
in the city, and grim possibilities unfolded themselves
before his eyes. Four nights ago I
" You have sent — to the police ? "
" Naturally. But in Paris — Monsieur must excuse
me if I speak plainly — a disappearance of this sort is
never regarded seriously by them. You know the life
here without doubt. Monsieur! Your accent proves
that you are well acquainted with the city. No doubt
their conclusions are based upon direct observation, and
in most cases are correct — but it is very certain that
Monsieur the Superintendent regards such disappearances
as these as due to one cause only."
Duncombe frowned, and something flashed in his eyes
which made the manager very glad that he had not put
forward this suggestion on his own account.
"With regard to the boy," he said, "this might be
likely enough. But with regard to the young lady it
is of course wildly preposterous. I will go to the police
myself," he added, rising.
"One moment, Sir George," the manager continued.
" The disappearance of the young lady was a source
of much trouble to me, and I made all possible inquiries
within the hotel I found that on the day of her dis-
A MAKER OF HISTOEY 43
appearance Mademoiselle had been told by one of the
attendants in the barber's shop, who had waited upon
her brother on the night of his arrival, that he —
Monsieur Guy — had asked for the name of some caf^s
for supper, and that he had recommended Caf^ Mont-
martre. Mademoiselle appears to have decided to go
there herself to make inquiries. We have no doubt
that when she left the hotel on the night of her dis-
appearance it was to there that she went."
" You have told the police this ? "
"Yes, I have told them," the manager answered
dryly. " Here is their latest report, if you care to see
Duncombe took the little slip of paper and read it
" Disappearance of Mademoiselle Poynton, from Eng-
land. — We regret to state no trace has been discovered
of the missing young lady.
" (Signed) Jules Legaede, Superintendent."
" That was only issued a few hours ago," the manager
" And I thought," Duncombe said bitterly, " that the
French police were the best in the world ! "
The manager said nothing. Duncombe rose from his
" I shall go myself to the Caf^ Montmartre," he said.
The manager bowed.
" I shall be glad," he said, " to divest myself of any
further responsibility in this matter. It has been a
source of much anxiety to the directors as well as
Duncombe walked out of the room, and putting on
44 A MAKEE OF HISTOEY
his coat again called for a petite voiticre. He gave
the man the address in the Kue St. Honor^ and was
driven to a block of fiats there over some shops.
" Is Monsieur Spencer in ? " he asked the concierge.
He was directed to the first floor. An English man-
servant admitted him, and a few moments later he
was shaking hands with a man who was seated before a
table covered with loose sheets of paper.
" Duncombe, by all that 's wonderful ! " he exclaimed,
holding out his hand. " Why, I thought that you had
shaken the dust of the city from your feet forever,
and turned country squire. Sit down ! What will
you have ? "
" Eirst of all, am I disturbing you ? "
Spencer shook his head.
" I 've no Press work to-night," he answered. " I Ve
a clear hour to give you at any rate. When did you
come ? "
" Two-twenty from Charing Cross," Duncombe an-
swered. " I can't tell you how thankful I am to find
you in, Spencer. I 'm over on a very serious matter,
and I want your advice."
Spencer touched the bell. Cigars and cigarettes,
whisky and soda, appeared as though by magic.
" Now help yourself and go ahead, old chap," his
host declared. " I 'm a good listener."
He proved himself so, sitting with half-closed eyes
and an air of close attention until he had heard the
whole story. He did not once interrupt, but when Dun-
combe had finished he asked a question.
" What did you say was the name of this cafd where
the boy had disappeared ? "
" Caf^ Montmartre."
A MAKEE OF HISTORY 45
Spencer sat up in his chair. His expression had
" The devil ! " he murmured softly.
" You know the place ? "
"Very well. It has an extraordinary reputation. I
am sorry to say it, Buncombe, but it is a very bad place
for your friend to have disappeared from."
" Why ? "
" In the first place it is the resort of a good many of
the most dangerous people in Europe — people who play
the game through to the end. It is a perfect hot-bed
of political intrigue, and it is under police protection."
" Police protection ! A place like that ! " Buncombe
" Not as you and I understand it, perhaps," Spencer
explained. " There is no Scotland Yard extending a
protecting arm over the place, and that sort of thing.
But the place is haunted by spies, and there are intrigues
carried on there in which the secret service police often
take a hand. In return it is generally very hard to get
to the bottom of any disappearance or even robbery
there through the usual channels. To the casual visitor,
and of course it attracts thousands from its reputation,
it presents no more dangers perhaps than the ordinary
night caf^ of its sort. But I could think of a dozen
men in Paris to-day, who, if they entered it, I honestly
believe would never be seen again."
Spencer was exaggerating, Buncombe murmured to
himself. He was a newspaper correspondent, and he
saw these things with the halo of melodrama around
them. And yet — four nights ago. His face was white
" The boy," he said, " could have been no more than
46 A MAKEE OF niSTOEY
an ordinary visitor. He had no great sum of money
with him, he had no secrets, he did not even speak the
language. Surely he would have been too small fry for
the intriguers of such a place ! "
" One would think so," Spencer answered musingly.
" You are sure that he was only what you say ? "
"He was barely twenty-one," Buncombe answered,
"and he had never been out of England before."
" What about the girl ? "
" She is two years older. It was her first visit to
Paris." Spencer nodded.
" The disappearance of the boy is of course the riddle,"
he remarked. " If you solve that you arrive also at his
sister's whereabouts. Upon my word, it is a poser. If
it had been the boy alone — well, one could understand.
The most beautiful ladies in Paris are at the Mont-
martre. No one is admitted who is not what they con-
sider — chic ! The great dancers and actresses are given
handsome presents to show themselves there. On a
representative evening it is probably the most brilliant
little roomful in Europe. The boy of course might have
lost his head easily enough, and then been ashamed to
face his sister. But when you tell me of her disap-
pearance, too, you confound me utterly. Is she good-
looking ? "
" Very I "
" She would go there, of course, asking for her
brother," Spencer continued thoughtfully. " An utterly
absurd thing to do, but no doubt she did, and — look
here, Buncombe, I tell you what 1 11 do. I have my
own two news -grabbers at hand, and nothing particular
for them to do this evening. I '11 send them up to the
A MAKEE OF IIISTOEY 47
"It's awfully good of you, Spencer. I was going
myself," Duncombe said, a little doubtfully.
"You idiot!" his friend said cheerfully, yet with
a certain emphasis. " English from your hair to your
boots, you'd go in there and attempt to pump people
who have been playing the game all their lives, and
who would give you exactly what information suited
their books. They'd know what you were there for,
the moment you opened your mouth. Honestly, what
manner of good do you think that you could do ?
You 'd learn what they chose to tell you. If there 's
really anything serious behind all this, do you suppose
it would be the truth ? "
" You 're quite right, I suppose," Duncombe admitted,
" but it seems beastly to be doing nothing."
" Better be doing nothing than doing harm I " Spencer
declared. " Look round the other caf^s and the boule-
vards. And come here at eleven to-morrow morning.
We'll breakfast together at Paillard's."
THE DECOY-HOUSE OF EUROPE
SPENCEE wrote out his luncheon with the extreme
care of the man to whom eating has passed to its
proper place amongst the arts, and left to Buncombe the
momentous question of red wine or white. Finally, he
leaned back in his chair, and looked thoughtfully across
at his companion.
" Sir George," he said, "you have placed me in a very
Buncombe glanced up from his hors d'oeuvre.
" What do you mean ? "
" I will explain," Spencer continued. " You came to
me last night with a story in which I hope that I
showed a reasonable amount of interest, but in which,
as a matter of fact, I was not interested at all. Girls
and boys who come to Paris for the first time in their
lives unattended, and find their way to the Cafe INIont-
martre, and such places, generally end up in the same
place. It would have sounded brutal if I had added
to your distress last night by talking like this, so I de-
termined to put you in the way of finding out for your-
self. I sent two of my most successful news-scouts to
that place last night, and I had not the slightest doubt
as to the nature of the information which they would
bring back. It turns out that I was mistaken."
" What did they discover ? " Buncombe asked eagerly.
" Nothing ! "
A MAKER OF HISTORY 49
Buncombe's face fell, but he looked a little puzzled.
"Nothing? I don't understand. They must have
heard that they had been there anyhow,"
"They discovered nothing. You do not understand
the significance of this. I do ! It means that I was
mistaken for one thing. Their disappearance has more
in it than the usual significance. Evil may have come
to them, but not the ordinary sort of evil. Listen !
You say that the police have disappointed you in having
discovered nothing. That is no longer extraordinary
to me. The police, or those who stand behind them,
are interested in this case, and in the withholding of
information concerning it."
" You are talking riddles to me, Spencer," Duncombe
declared. "Do you mean that the police in Paris may
become the hired tools of malefactors ? "
"Not altogether that," Spencer said, waving aside a
dish presented before him by the head waiter himself
with a gesture of approval. "Not necessarily male-
factors. But there are other powers to be taken into
consideration, and most unaccountably your two friends
are in deeper water than your story led me to expect.
Now, not another question, please, until you have tried
that sauce. Absolute silence, if you please, for at least
three or four minutes."
Duncombe obeyed with an ill grace. He had little
curiosity as to its flavor, and a very small appetite at all
with the conversation in its present position. He waited
for the stipulated time, however, and then leaned once
more across the table.
" Spencer ! "
"First I must have your judgment upon the sauce.
Did you find enough mussels ? "
50 A MAKER OF HISTORY
" Damn the sauce ! " Duncombe answered. " Forgive
me, Spencer, but this affair is, after all, a serious one to
me. You say that your two scouts, as you call them, dis-
covered nothing. Well, they had only one evening at it.
Will they try again in other directions ? Can I engage
them to work for me ? Money is absolutely no object."
Spencer shook his head.
" Duncombe," he said, " you 're going to think me a
poor sort of friend, but the truth is best. You must
not count upon me any more. I cannot lift even my
little finger to help you, I can only give you advice if
you want it."
« And that ? "
"Go back to England to-morrow. Chuck it alto-
gether. You are up against too big a combination.
You can do no one any good. You are a great deal
more likely to come to harm yourself."
Duncombe was quite quiet for several moments.
When he spoke again his manner had a new stiffness.
" You have surprised me a good deal, I must confess,
Spencer. We will abandon the subject."
Spencer shrugged his shoulders.
"I know how you're feeling, old chap," he said.
"I can't help it. You understand my position here.
I write a daily letter for the best paying and most
generous newspaper in the world, and it is absolutely
necessary that I keep hand in glove with the people in
high places here. My position absolutely demands it,
and my duty to my chief necessitates my putting all
personal feeling on one side in a case like this when a
"But where," Duncombe asked, "does the conflict
arise ? "
A MAKER OF HISTORY 51
" Here I " Spencer answered. " I received a note this
morning from a great personage in this country to whom
I am under more obligation than any other breathing
man, requesting me to refrain from making any fur-
ther inquiries or assisting any one else to make them
in this matter. I can assure you that I was thunder-
struck, but the note is in my pocket at the present
" Does it mention them by name ? "
" The exact words are," Spencer answered, " ' respect-
ing the reported disappearance of the young English-
man, Mr. Guy Poynton, and his sister.' This will
just show you how much you have to hope for from
the police, for the person whose signature is at the foot
of that note could command the implicit obedience of
the whole system."
Dimcombe's cheeks were a little flushed. He was
British to the backbone, and his obstinacy was being
" The more reason," he said quietly, " so far as I can
see, that I should continue my independent efforts with
such help as I can secure. This girl and boy are fellow
country-people, and I have n't any intention of leaving
them in the clutches of any brutal gang of Frenchmen
into whose hands they may have got. I shall go on
doing what I can, Spencer."
The journalist shrugged his shoulders.
"I can't help sympathizing with you, Duncombe,"
he said, " but keep reasonable. You know your Paris
well enough to understand that you have n't a thousand
to one chance. Besides, Frenchmen are not brutal. If
the boy got into a scrape, it was probably his own
52 A MAKEK OF HISTOKY
" And the girl ? What of her ? Am I to leave her
to the tender mercies of whatever particular crew of
blackguards may have got her into their power ? "
" You are needlessly melodramatic," Spencer an-
swered. " I will admit, of course, that her position may
be an unfortunate one, but the personage whom I have
the honor to call my friend does not often protect black-
guards. Be reasonable. Buncombe ! These young people
are not relatives of yours, are they ? "
"Nor very old friends? The young lady, for in-
stance ? "
Buncombe looked up, and his face was set in grim
and dogged lines. He felt like a man who was nailing
his colors to the mast.
" The young lady," he said, " is, I pray Heaven, my
future wife ! "
Spencer was honestly amazed, and a little shocked.
" Forgive me. Buncombe," he said. " I had no idea —
though perhaps I ought to have guessed."
They went on with their luncheon in silence for
some time, except for a few general remarks. But
after the coffee had been brought and the cigarettes
were alight, Spencer leaned once more across the
" Tell me, Bimcombe, what you mean to do."
" I shall go to the Cafd Montmartre myself to-night.
At such a place there must be hangers-on and parasites
who see something of the game. I shall tr}^ to come
into touch with them. I am rich enough to outbid the
others who exact their silence."
" You must be rich enough to buy their lives then,"
Spencer answered gravely, "for if you do succeed in
A MAKEK OF HISTORY 53
tempting any one to betray the inner happenings of
that place on which the seal of silence has been put, you
will hear of them in the Morgue before a fortnight has
" They must take their risk," Duncombe said coldly.
" I am going to stuff my pockets with money to-night,
and I shall bid high. I shall leave word at the hotel
where I am going. If anything happens to me there —
weU, I don't think the Caf^ Montmartre will flourish
"Duncombe," his friend said gravely, "nothing will
happen to you at' the Caf^ Montmartre. Nothing ever
does happen to any one there. You remember poor
De Laurson ? "
" Quite welL He was stabbed by a girl in the Eue
"He was stabbed in the Cafe Montmartre, but his
body was foimd in the Eue Pigalle. Then there was
the Yicomte de Sauvinac."
" He was found dead in his study — poisoned."
" He was found there — yes, but the poison was given
to him in the Caf^ Montmartre, and it was there that he
died. I am behind the scenes in some of these matters,
but I know enough to hold my tongue, or my London
letter would n't be worth a pound a week. I am giving
myself away to you now, Duncombe. I am risking a
position which it has taken me twenty years to secure.
I 've got to tell you these things, and you must do as I
tell you. Go back to London ! "
Duncombe laughed as he rose to his feet.
"Not though the Yicomte's fate is to be mine to-
night," he answered. " The worse hell this place is the
worse the crew it must shelter. I should never hold
54 A MAKER OF HISTORY
my head up again if I sneaked off home and left the
girl in their hands. I don't see how you can even
" Only because you can't do the least good," Spencer
answered. "And besides, don't run away with a false
impression. The place is dangerous only for certain
people. The authorities don't protect murderers or
thieves except under special circumstances. The Yi-
comte's murderer and De Laurson's were brought to
justice. Only they keep the name of the place out of it
always. Tourists in shoals visit it, and visit safely
every evening. They pay fancy prices for what they
have, but I think they get their money's worth. But
for certain classes of people it is the decoy house of
Europe. Foreign spies have babbled away their secrets
there, and the greatest criminals of the world have
whispered away their lives to some fair daughter of
Judas at those tables. I, who am behind the scenes,
tell you these things, Buncombe."
" To-morrow," he said, " you may add another victim
to your chamber of horrors ! "
THE amber wine fell in a little wavering stream
from his upraised glass on to the table-cloth below.
He leaned back in his chair and gazed at his three
guests with a fatuous smile. The girl in blue, with the
dazzlingly fair hair and wonderful complexion, steadied
his hand and exchanged a meaning look with the man
who sat opposite. Surely the poor fool was ready for
the plucking ? But Madame, who sat beside her, frowned
upon them both. She had seen things which had puz-
zled her. She signed to them to wait.
She leaned over and flashed her great black eyes upon
"Monsieur enjoys himself like this every night in
Paris ? "
A soft, a very seductive, voice. The woman who
envied her success compared it to the purring of a cat.
Men as a rule found no fault with it, especially those
who heard it for the first time.
Buncombe set down his glass, now almost empty.
He looked from the stain on the table-cloth into the
eyes of Madame, and again she thought them very un-
like the eyes of a drunken man.
" Why not ? It 's the one city in the world to enjoy
one's self in. Half-past four, and here we are as jolly
as anything. Chucked out of everywhere in Lon-
don at half -past twelve. * Time, gentlemen, please I *
56 A MAKER OF HISTORY
And out go the lights. Jove, I wonder what they'd
think of this at the Continental! Lef's — let's have
The fair-haired girl — Flossie to her friends, Made-
moiselle ^lermillon until you had ^been introduced —
whispered in his ear. He shook his head vaguely.
She had her arm round his neck. He removed it
" AVe '11 have another here first anyhow," he declared.
" Hi, Gargon ! Ring the bell, there 's a good chap,
Monsieur — dash it, I've forgotten your name. No,
don't move. I'll do it myself."
He rose and staggered towards the door.
" The bell is n't that way, Monsieur," Madame ex-
claimed. " It is to the right. Louis, quick ! "
Monsieur Louis sprang to his feet. There was a
queer grating little sound, followed by a sharp click.
Buncombe had swung round and faced them. He had
turned the key in the door, and was calml}^ pocketiug it.
The hand which held that small shining revolver was
certainly not the hand of a drunken man.
They all three looked at him in wonder — ]\Iadame,
Monsieur Louis, and Mademoiselle Flossie. The dark
eyebrows of Madame almost met, and her eyes were
full of the promise of evil thiugs. Monsieur Louis,
cowering back from that steadily pointed revolver, was
white with the inherited cowardice of the degenerate.
Flossie, who had drunk more wiue than any of them,
was trying to look as though it were a joke. Buncombe,
with his disordered eveniug clothes, his stained shirt-
front and errant tie, was master of the situation. He
came and stood a few feet away from them. His blim-
deriug French accent and slow choice of words had
He came and stood a few feel awAy i:
A MAKER OF HISTORY 57
departed. He spoke to them without hesitation, aud
his French was almost as good as their own.
" I want you to keep your places," he said, " and
listen to me for a few minutes. I can assure you I am
neither mad nor drunk. I have a few questions to ask
you, and if your answers are satisfactory you may yet
find my acquaintance as profitable as though I had
been the pigeon I seemed. Keep your seat, Monsieur
Monsieur Louis, who had half risen, sat down again
hastily. They all watched him from their places
around the table. It was Madame whom he ad-
dressed more directly — Madame with the jet black
hair and golden earrings, the pale cheeks and scarlet
" I invited you into a private room here," he said,
" because what I have said to you three is between our-
selves alone. You came, I presume, because it promised
to be profitable. All that I want from you is informa-
tion. And for that I am willing to pay."
Monsieur Louis interposed. He stroked his little
black moustache with a much beringed hand. With
the other he gesticulated.
" Monsieur talks reasonably," he declared, " but why
all this mystery ? Vfhj this feigned drunkenness ?
Why the show of arms ? If we can help Monsieur —
it is an affair of pleasure, and if he chooses to make a
present to these ladies in return — why, no doubt they
will be charmed. Me, I presume, he has no intention
to insult. Permit me. Monsieur."
He drew a card from a small gold case, and presented
it to Buncombe, who accepted it with a little bow.
" If I can aid you in any way," Monsieur Louis
58 A MAKEK OF HISTORY
continued, " I am entirely at your service, but I require
first of all that in addressing us you recognize my posi-
tion as a French nobleman, who amuses himself in this
place as you. Monsieur, also do, and also that you unlock
Buncombe smiled quietly.
" Monsieur le Baron," he said, " I think that we are
very well as we are — secure from interruption. I have
sent others here on this same mission, and they did not
succeed. Both of these ladies, I believe, have been ap-
proached for the information I desire, and they have
thought well to withhold it. I have set my heart upon
success this time, and I wish to secure at least the oppor-
tunity of being heard."
Monsieur Louis shrugged his shoulders.
" There are secrets," he murmured ; " affairs of
Duncombe interrupted him.
" Monsieur Louis," he said, " I am not so young as I
look, and I have lived in Paris. I know that this caf^,
for all its outward smartness, bears perhaps the worst
reputation in Europe. I have heard of you three many
times — the * Trinity from Hell,' they call you some-
times, I think. You see I know where I am and the
risk I run. Even this little room has its secrets — a
murder or two, I believe, and other things — secrets
which I don't suppose there is gold enough in France
to buy. Well, I don't want to buy them. You can go
your way so far as I am concerned. There is only one
thing I want to know from you, and for that I offer you
— the ladies, of course, I mean — five thousand francs
" Five thousand francs I " Madame murmured.
A MAKER OF IIISTOEY 59
Mademoiselle Flossie said nothing, but her eyes
" The question, Monsieur ? "
" What has become of Mademoiselle Ph341is Poynton,
the young English lady ? "
The eyes of Madame seemed to narrow for a moment.
Monsieur Louis lit a cigarette with fingers which shook
a little, and the fair face of Mademoiselle Flossie was
suddenly white. Then they all three looked at one
" Do you know whom Monsieur may mean ? "
" An English girl ! There are none come here."
" Mademoiselle Poynton ! It is a name unheard of."
The young Englishman smiled upon them grimly.
" Madame," he said, " you have in your satchel —
don't move, if you please — a roll of French notes —
indeed you must not move — very cleverly abstracted
from my pocket by my charming young companion.
Mademoiselle Flossie here. Now I have at least half a
dozen friends in the caf^ below whom I could summon
here by touching that bell, and the identification of
those notes would be a perfectly simple matter. Shall
I do it? Or will you earn another roll by giving me
the information I seek ? "
Madame leaned forward and whispered in the man's
ear. Monsieur Louis nodded.
" Tell him," Mademoiselle Flossie murmured trem-
ulously. " Monsieur will not break faith with us. He
will not let it be known from whence he gained the
"'Agreed ! " the young Englishman declared. " Go
60 A MAKEE OF HISTOKY
Madame held up her hand.
" I," she said, " will tell Monsieur what we know."
She rose to her feet and leaned over the table. The
blue-black sequins on her dress glittered and shone in
the dull light. Her figure was superb, her neck and
bosom a flawless white. The Englishman, however,
was unmoved. His keen gray eyes were fixed upon
her, but the revolver remained in his right hand. From
downstairs they could hear the music of violins, the
rattle of glasses, the hum of voices and laughter.
Madame frowned slightly as she marked the young
Englishman's alertness. She was used to victims, and
his imperturbability annoyed her.
" I trust," she said, " that you will remember, Mon-
sieur, that I am breaking a pledged word. If Monsieur
the Director here knew that I was telling you of Made-
moiselle Poynton there would be much trouble for all
" Go on," he said.
" Mademoiselle came here first about a month or per-
haps six weeks ago," she said. " From that time on she
was a regular visitor. She came alone. She spoke to
no one. She was always a mystery. She was very
handsomely dressed — for an English girl, quite chic !
She spent money, and Monsieur Albert the director kept
always a table for her. As time went on we began to
feel the mystery. We asked ourselves for what purpose
does she come here ? For what, indeed !
"One night Monsieur Albert, who was always be-
sieged with questions about her, took too much wine.
I have seen that happen with him but once — since that
time never. He told us about Mademoiselle. She
A MAKER OF HISTORY 61
made some inquiries about her brother, and Monsieur
Albert was able to tell her his whereabouts. After that
he scarcely expected to see her again, but the next night
she was here also.
" Then Monsieur Albert learned more. Mademoiselle
was in a small way an artist, and she had conceived the
idea of painting a picture of the caf^ — an early morning
picture of effects, Monsieur understands. There was to
be the morning sunlight streaming across the supper-
tables, the faces of all of us aged and haggard.
Monsieur Louis here, without doubt, a very child of the
devil ! Oh, a very moral picture. Monsieur. It was to
convert us all. Monsieur Albert declared that he would
arrange to have it here on exhibition, and we should
aU mend our ways. Monsieur knew perhaps that the
young lady was an artist ? "
The question was flashed suddenly upon him as
though the intention was to take him by surprise. Dun-
combe, however, remained immoved.
"I am here, Madame, to ask, not to answer, ques-
tions," he said. "Will you kindly proceed? I am
Madame put her hand to her throat for a moment as
though to loosen her necklace. She had not the appear-
ance of being greatly in love with her questioner.
" There came a night," she continued, " when Made-
moiselle broke through her rule. A man came in and
sat at her table. His name was the Vicomte D Aubarde,
and he was known to most of us, though to the young
lady he appeared to be a stranger. They talked ear-
nestly for an hour or more. When she left — he accom-
panied her ! "
The Englishman had grown paler. Madame saw it
62 A MAKEK OF HISTORY
and smiled. Her lover perhaps ! It was good to make
" Flossie here," she continued, " was outside, and
saw them depart. They drove off together in the
Vicomte's coup^. They were apparently on the best
of terms. Since then we have not seen her again —
nor the Vicomte. Monsieur knows now as much as
" And how long ago is that ? " Buncombe asked
" A week to-night," Madame replied.
Buncombe laid down a roll of notes upon the
"I wish," he said, "to prove to you that I am in
earnest. I am therefore going to pay you the amount
I promised, although I am perfectly well aware that the
story of Madame is — false ! "
" Monsieur ! "
" As I remarked," he repeated, " false. Now listen
to me. I want to tempt one of you, I don't care
which, to break through this thieves' compact of yours.
I have paid a thousand francs for lies — I will pay
ten thousand francs for truth ! Ten thousand francs
for the present whereabouts of Mademoiselle Phyllis
Poynton ! "
Mademoiselle Flossie looked up at him quickly. Then
she glanced furtively at Madame, and the flash of
Madame's eyes was like lightning upon blue steeL
Buncombe moved towards the door.
" I will pay the bill downstairs," he said. " Good
night ! Think over what I have said. Ten thousand
francs ! "
Monsieur Louis stood up and bowed stiffly. Made-
A MAKER OF HISTORY 63
moiselle Flossie ventured to throw him a kiss. Madame
The door closed. They heard him go downstairs.
Madame picked up his card and read aloud.
Sir George Buncombe,
Grand Hotel, Paris.
"If one could only," Madame murmured, "tell him
the truth, collect the money — and "
" And," Flossie murmured, half fearfully.
Monsieur le Baron smiled 1
THE STORY OF A CALL
MADEMOISELLE MERMILLON was not warmly
welcomed at the Grand HoteL The porter be-
lieved that Sir George Duncombe was out. He would in-
quire, if Mademoiselle would wait, but he did not usher
her into the drawing-room, as would have been his duty
in an ordinary case, or even ask her to take a seat.
Mademoiselle Mermillon was of the order of young
person who resents, but this afternoon she was far too
nervous. During the porter's temporary absence she
started at every footstep, and scrutinized anxiously
every passer-by. Often she looked behind her through
the glass doors into the street. When at last he reap-
peared alone her disappointment was obvious.
"Sir George Duncombe is out. Mademoiselle," he
announced. " Will you be pleased to leave a message,
or your name ? "
" You do not know how long he will be ? " she in-
" Sir George left no word," the man answered. " He
has been out since before dejeuner''
Mademoiselle decided to leave a note. The porter
supplied her with notepaper and envelopes. She sat
down at a small round table, and once more glanced
furtively around. Convinced that she was not being
watched, she hastily wrote a few lines, sealed and ad-
dressed the envelope, and handed it to the porter.
A MAKER OF HISTORY 65
"You will give this to Sir George immediately he
returns," she begged. " It is important."
"Monsieur shall have it without doubt, Mademoi-
selle," the man answered.
She pulled down her veil and left the place hurriedly.
When she reached the boulevard she slackened her pace,
and drew a little breath of relief.
" Ten thousand francs ! " she murmured to herself.
" If I took that with me they would receive me at home.
I might start all over again. It is worth a little risk.
Heavens, how nervous I am I "
She entered a caf^ and drank a petit verre. As she
set her glass down a man looked at her over the top of
his newspaper. She tried to smile, but her heart was
beating, and she was sick with fear.
" What a fool I am ! " she muttered. " It is a stranger,
too. If he were one of Gustav's lot I should know
She returned his smile, and he came and sat down
beside her. They had another liqueur. Later they left
the place together.
Buncombe returned to his hotel tired out after a dis-
appointing day spent in making fruitless inquiries in
various parts of Paris. He had learnt nothing. He
seemed as far off the truth as ever. He opened the note
which the porter handed him listlessly enough. After-
wards, however, it was different. This is what he
read : —
" I can tell you about the young English lady if you
will promise upon your honor that you will not betray
me. I dare not come here again. I dare not even speak
66 A MAKER OF HISTOBY
to you while the others are about. Go to the Cafd
Sylvain to-night and order dinner in a private room. I
will come at half-past seven. — Flossie."
Duncombe drew a little sigh of relief. At last then
he was to know something. He was very English, a
bad amateur detective, and very weary of his task.
Nothing but his intense interest in the girl herself — an
interest which seemed to have upset the whole tenor of
his life — would have kept him here plodding so relent-
lessly away at a task which seemed daily to present
more difficulties and complications. Yet so absorbed
had he become that the ordinary duties and pleasures
which, made up the routine of his life scarcely ever
entered into his mind. There had been men coming
down to shoot, whom in an ordinary way he would not
have dreamed of putting off — a cricket match which
had been postponed until his return, and which he had
completely forgotten. Paris had nothing in the shape
of amusement to offer him in place of these things, yet in
his own mind these things were as if they had not been.
Every interest and energy of his life was concentrated
upon the one simple object of his search.
He gave the man half a crown, and walked to the lift
whistling. The porter shook his head, and Duncombe
receded considerably in his estimation, notwithstanding
the tip. He considered Mademoiselle Flossie a little ob-
vious for a gentleman of Buncombe's class. Duncombe
treated himself to a cocktail and a cigarette as he
changed his clothes. It was positively the first gleam
of hope he had had. And then suddenly he remembered
Spencer's warning, and he became grave.
He was at the Caf6 Sylvain early. He ordered dinner,
A MAKER OF HISTORY 67
gave elaborate instructions about a young lady when
she arrived, and with a glass of absinthe and another
cigarette sat down to wait. At a quarter to eight he
began to get restless. He summoned the waiter again,
and gave a more detailed description of Mademoiselle
Flossie. The waiter was regretful but positive. No
young lady of any description had arrived expecting to
meet a gentleman in a private room. Duncombe tried
him with her name. But yes, Mademoiselle Mermillon
was exceedingly well known there! He would give
orders that she should be shown up immediately she
arrived. It would be soon, without doubt.
At a quarter-past eight Duncombe dined alone, too
disappointed to resent the waiter's sympathetic attitude.
At nine o'clock he returned to the hotel on the chance
that a message might have been sent there. He read
the English newspapers, and wrote letters until mid-
night. Then he ordered a carriage and drove to the
He mounted the stairs and passed through the little
bar which led into the supper-room. Monsieur Albert
came forward with a low bow.
" You can find me a table, I suppose ? " Duncombe
remarked, looking round. " Where shall I sit ? "
Monsieur Albert shook his head slowly. His hands
were outstretched, his manner sad, but resigned.
" I am very sorry. Monsieur, but to-night every place
is taken. I have had to turn others away already," he
declared. " A thousand regrets."
Duncombe looked at him astonished. The place was
more than half empty.
" Surely you can find me a small table somewhere,'*
he said. " I was here last evening, you know. If it is
68 A MAKER OF HISTORY
because I am alone I will order supper for two and a
magnum of wine."
Monsieur Albert was immovable. He remembered
Buncombe well, and he was proud of his patronage, but
to-night it was impossible to offer him a table. Dun-
combe began to be annoyed.
" Very well," he said, " I will stay in the bar. You
can't turn me out of there, can you ? "
Monsieur Albert was evasive. He desired Monsieur
Buncombe to be amused, and the people who remained
in the bar — well, it was not possible to get rid of them,
but they were not fitting company for him.
" There is the Caf^ Mazarin," he added confiden-
tially, " a few steps only from here — a most amusing
place. The most wonderful ladies there, too, very chic,
and crowded every night ! Monsieur should really try
it. The commissionaire would direct him — a few yards
" Much obliged to you," Buncombe answered, turning
on his heeL " I may look in there presently."
He seated himself at a small round table and ordered
a drink. The people here were of a slightly different
class from those who had the entree to the supper-room
and were mostly crowded round the bar itself. At a
small desk within a few feet of him a middle-aged
woman with a cold, hard face sat with a book of account
before her and a pile of bills. There was something
almost Sphynx-like about her appearance. She never
spoke. Her expression never changed. Once their eyes
met. She looked at him steadfastly, but said noth-
ing. The girl behind the bar also took note of him.
She was very tall and slim, absolutely colorless, and
with coils of fair hair drawn tightly back from her fore-
A :MAKER of history 69
head. She was never without a cigarette, lighting a fresh
one always from its predecessor, talking all the while
unceasingly, but without the slightest change of expres-
sion. Once she waved the men and girls who stood
talking to her on one side, and Buncombe fancied that
it was because she desii-ed a better view of him.
Suddenly he was startled by a voice close at hand.
He looked up. The woman at the desk was speaking to
"Monsieur would be well advised," she said, "if he
Buncombe looked at her in amazement. She was
writing rapidly in her book, and her eyes were fixed
upon her work. If he had not actually heard her, it
would have been hard to believe that she had spoken.
"But why, Madame?" he asked. "Why should I
go? I am in no one's way. I can pay for what I
She dipped her pen in the ink.
"I know nothing of Monsieur or his business," she
said, still without even glancing towards him, "but I
know that Monsiem' Albert does not wish him to
" The de^-il take Monsieur Albert ! " Buncombe an-
swered angrily. "I am waiting to speak to some one
who comes here regularly, and I shall stay vmtil she
The woman wrote steadily for a moment. Then she
blotted the page on which she had been writing, and
raising her head, looked at him.
" It is no affair of mine," she said, " but Monsieur
Albert has sent for the police. They may say that you
have had too much wine, or that you owe money. In
70 A MAKER OF HISTORY
either case you will be removed The police will not
listen to you. Monsieur Albert has special discretion.
It is no affair of mine," she repeated, " but if I were
Monsieur I would go."
Buncombe rose slowly to his feet, and summoning a
waiter paid his bill. The man produced a second one,
dated a few days back, for a large amount.
" What is the meaning of this ? " he asked. " I do
not owe you anything."
" Monsieur was here with a party last Thursday
night," he said glibly. " He promised to pay the next
time. I will call the manager."
Duncombe tore the bill in half and turned away. He
bowed to the lady at the desk.
" I see that you were right," he said. " I will leave."
" Monsieur is wise," she answered without looking up.
He left the caf^ without speaking to any one further.
When he reached the pavement he slipped a five-franc
piece into the hand of the tall commissionaire.
" You know most of the young ladies who come here,
I suppose ? " he asked.
" But certainly ! " the man answered with a smile,
" Monsieur desires ? "
" I want the address of a young lady named Mer-
millon — Flossie, I think they call her," Duncombe said.
" Thirty-one, Rue Pigalle," the man answered promptly.
" But she should be here within an hour. She never
Duncombe thanked him, and hailed a carriage.
" Shall I give Mademoiselle any message ? " the man
"I am going to call for her," Duncombe answered.
"If I do not find her I will return,"
A MAKEE OF HISTORY 71
To drive to the Rue Pigalle was an affair of five min-
utes only. Buncombe climbed a couple of flights of
narrow stairs, pushed open a swing gate, and found
himself in front of an office, in which an elderly woman
" Can you tell me where to find Mademoiselle Mer-
millon ? " Buncombe asked.
"Next floor; first door on the left," the woman
answered. " Mademoiselle is not often in at this hour,
Buncombe thanked her, and climbed another flight
of stairs. He had to strike a match to look for a bell
or knocker, and then found neither. He knocked on
the door with his knuckles. There was no reply. He
was on the point of departure, when he noticed that the
door was ajar. After a moment's hesitation he pushed
He foimd himself in a narrow passage, with dresses
and other articles of apparel hanging from a row of pegs
on the wall. The place was in complete darkness. He
struck another match. At the end of the passage was
an inner door, also ajar. He rapped upon it, and finally
pushed it open. Just then his match went out !
DUNCOMBE had the nerves and temperament
of the young Englishman of his class, whose life is
mostly spent out of doors, and who has been an athlete
all his days. But nevertheless at that moment he was
afraid. Something in the stillness of the room oppressed
him. He could see nothing, hear nothing except the
clock ticking upon the mantlepiece. And yet he was
He fumbled desperately in his pocket for his match-
box. When he had found it he discovered that it was
empty. With a sense of positive relief he backed out
of the room and hastily descended the stairs. The old
lady was still in her sitting-room reading the paper.
She set it down at his entrance, and looked at him over
the top of her spectacles.
" Pardon, Madame," he said, removing his hat, " I
find the rooms of Mademoiselle are open, but all is in
darkness. I cannot make any one hear."
Madame took up her paper.
" Then Mademoiselle is probably out," she declared.
"It is generally so at this hour. Monsieur can leave
" But the doors are all open ! " Buncombe said.
" I go presently and close them," Madame answered.
" The careless hussy ! "
Buncombe produced a small piece of gold. Madame
A MAKEE OF HISTORY 73
laid down the paper at once. She looked at it as
though ready to snatch it from his hand.
" Madame would oblige me very much if she would as-
cend with me at once," Buncombe said. " I should like to
make quite sure whether the young lady is there or not."
Madame was on her feet with remarkable celerity.
She accepted the coin and carefully placed it in a purse
drawn from somewhere amongst the folds of her volu-
"We shall need a candle," Buncombe reminded her.
She lit a lamp, talking all the while.
" Monsieur is very generous," she declared. " Made-
moiselle Flossie is a charming young lady. No wonder
she has many friends. There was one," she continued,
" who came here with her this afternoon — but he left
almost at once," she added hastily, aware of her indis-
cretion. " Ah, these stairs ! They grow steeper for
one so corpulent. At last I "
She pushed open the door and went sideways down
the narrow passage. Bhectly they had entered it they
had a view of the room beyond. Madame cried out,
and Buncombe felt all his vague fears spring into a
terrified apprehension of actual evil.
The curtain before the window had been hastily
drawn, but the lamp which the portress carried was
sufficient feebly to illuminate the room. The table-
cloth and a broken vase lay upon the floor. A few feet
off was an overturned chair. Upon the canopied bed
lay a prostrate figure, the head thrown back at an im-
natural angle, the eyes open but glazed. Buncombe
dared do no more than cast one single horrified glance
at it. Madame set down the lamp upon the table, and
made the room hideous with shrieks.
74 A MAKEK OF HISTOKY
" Good God ! " she cried. " It is the little one who
is dead ! "
Duncombe himself fetched in the gendarmes, and
waited whilst they took voluminous notes of the occur-
rence. The murder seemed to them and to Madame
to be one of a very common class. The assassin had
left no clue whatever behind him. The poor girl's rings
had been torn from her fingers, her little stock of jewel-
lery ransacked, her purse was empty, everything of
value had been taken. There was not a shred of evi-
dence against any one. Madame, who had seen the
man upon the stairs, could only say that he was short,
and wore a black felt hat. The officer who took down
what they had to say shrugged his shoulders as he
replaced the book in his pocket. The affair would
pass most certainly, he feared, into the long list of
Duncombe left his name and address, and enough
money for the funeral. Then he returned to his hotel.
This was the end, then, of the clue from which he had
hoped so much. Spencer's warning as to what would
surely happen to those whom he might succeed in brib-
ing came back into his mind with sickening insistence.
In a measure he was responsible for the girl's death.
After all, what chance had he? He was fighting
against powers which, moving always in the darkness,
seemed able with the most ridiculous ease to frustrate
his every move. He re-entered the hotel in a state of
complete nervous depression. For the first time he had
forebodings on his own account. What had happened
to Mademoiselle Flossie might happen so easily to
A man rose quickly from the lounge in the hotel
A MAKER OF HISTORY 75
as he entered. Duncombe greeted him with a little
expression of wonder.
"Spencer!" he exclaimed. "Were you waiting to
see me ? "
The journalist nodded. He was not in evening dress,
and he too had the appearance of a man who has re-
ceived something of a shock.
" Yes. The caf^ is closed, I suppose. Let us go
down into the smoke-room. I want to talk to you."
Duncombe led the way. They found two easy-chairs,
and despatched a waiter for whiskies and soda. Then
Spencer turned to his friend.
" Have you met," he asked, " with any success ? "
" None I " Duncombe answered gloomily.
" I have something to tell you," Spencer continued.
" No, it is not good news," he added hastily. "It is
more a personal matter. It is of something which has
happened to myself."
" Go on I " he said.
"For twenty-two and a half years," Spencer said,
" I have lived in Paris as the correspondent to various
English journals. I have made many friends, and it
has been considered amongst all my fellow journalists
that I had the ear of more influential people in politics
and society here than any other vn?iter. To-day I have
resigned my position I "
Duncombe managed to summon up enough interest
to be surprised.
"I had no idea," he said, "that you were contem-
plating anything of the sort."
" I was not I " Spencer answered grimly. " I am
as much surprised myself as all my friends will be."
76 A MAKEK OF HISTORY
Duncombe was puzzled.
" I am afraid I don't quite understand," he said.
" You can't mean that your people "
"No! My people have nothing to do with it,"
Spencer answered. " I have had the sack, but not
from them. It is Paris which will have no more of me.
I live here, of course, on my faculties for obtaining
information, and my entree into political and social life.
To-day the Minister of Police has declined to receive me,
or at any future time — my cards of entry into the cham-
ber and half a dozen places have been revoked, my name
has been expunged from the visiting list of the President,
and practically of every other person of importance.
All that I may see of Paris now is from the outside.
And there is no appeal ! "
" But what is the reason of it, Spencer ? What
have you done ? How have you offended all these
people ? "
"I don't want you to blame yourself in any way,
Duncombe," he said. " You could not possibly have
guessed the sort of thing you were up against. But
the fact remains that my offence is in having sent my
friends to the Caf4 Montmartre on your account, and in
being suspected of rendering you further assistance in
your search for those two marvellous young English
people ! "
" You are not joking by any chance, are you ? "
Duncombe asked gravely.
"The matter," Spencer replied, "does not appear to
me to lend itself to anything of the sort."
Duncombe ^buried his head in his hands for several
A MAKER OF HISTORY 77
" Great Heavens ! " he murmured. " Let me think !
I can't tell you how sorry I am, old chap. Can't the
thing be explained? As a matter of fact, you were
"I don't want it explained," Spencer said, "even if
it would do any good — which it would n't ! I should
have retired in any case in less than a year, and, as it is,
I believe my successor is on his way over already. Now
would you like to know why I have come here at this
hour of the night to tell you this ? "
" Go on ! " he said. " Afterwards I 've something to
"I've come," Spencer said, "because I'm free now,
if you like, to help you. I was interested in your story
before. I am ten times more interested in it now. If
you still want me I '11 do what I can for you."
" Want you ! Spencer, do you mean it ? " Buncombe
exclaimed. "Want you! Why, there's no one I'd
rather interest in the affair than you."
" Well, I can promise you my interest is pretty well
excited already," Spencer answered. "I'm with you
right along. Now tell me where you 've been this even-
ing, and what 's happened."
Buncombe recounted the evening's events. His new
ally listened and afterwards smoked for a moment or
two in silence.
" It is simply wonderful," he declared. " The whole
secret-service system of Paris is working to cover up the
traces of this boy and girl. Their spies, of course, are
everywhere, and their organization perfect. The first
one of their creatures who tries to break away is Mad-
emoiselle Flossie. The poor little fool lived for only
78 A MAKEE OF HISTOEY
a few hours afterwards. Your bribe was high, but she
ought to have known better."
" You mean "
" Why, of course ! The theft of her poor little jewels
was only a blind. It was to deceive the public, for, as
a matter of fact, her murderer would have been per-
fectly safe if he had strolled into the nearest police
station and made his report. She was killed because
she was going to give you certain information."
" Great Heaven I " he exclaimed. " Tell me, Spencer,
who or what can be at the back of all this ? Guy
Poynton was simply a healthy-minded, not over-intelli-
gent, young Saxon, unambitious, and passionately fond
of his home and his country life. He had no friends
over here, no interests, no ties of any sort. He was
abroad for the first time of his life. He regarded
foreign countries and people simply with the toler-
ant curiosity of the untravelled Britisher. He appears
in Paris for one night and disappears, and forthwith
all the genius of French espionage seems to have
combined to cover up his traces. It is the same
with his sister, only as she came afterwards it
was evidently on his account that she also is drawn
into the mystery. What can be the meaning of it,
Spencer ? "
"My young friend," Spencer said, "I will be frank
with you. I have not the least idea! I only know
that somehow or other you 're up against a big thing.
In a week — perhaps a day — I may know more. Mean-
while I want you to go on your way precisely as though
you and I had not discussed this matter."
" We may not work together then ? " Buncombe asked.
A MAKER OF HISTOEY 79
" Certainly not ! You are a marked man every-
where. Every door is closed to you. I shall nominally
stick to my post. You must be content to be the
actual looker-on, though you had better not abandon
your inquiries altogether. I will put you up at the
Cercle Anglais. It will serve to pass the time, and
you may gain information at the most unlikely places.
And now good-bye."
The liftman thrust a pencilled note into Buncombe's
hand as he ascended to his room.
" From I do not know whom, Monsieur," he an-
nounced. " It was left here by some one ! Whom
I cannot say."
Duncombe opened it in his dressing-room. There
was only one sentence: —
" Monsieur would be well advised to leave Paris
A WOBD OF WARNING
" "T X the most unlikely places ! " Duncombe mur-
X mured to himself as he bowed to the French-
man, whose name his friend had mentioned. " I am
very glad to meet you again, Monsieur le Baron ! "
he said, aloud.
They were in the covered garden at the Eitz. Dun-
combe had accepted the pressing invitation of an old
college friend, whom he had met on the boulevards,
to drop in and be introduced to his wife. And the
third at the tea-table was Monsieur Louis, known in
society apparently as Monsieur le Baron de Seurs.
Lady Hadley, his friend's wife, smiled languidly
upon them both. She was a frail pink and white
little woman, with the reputation of a beauty to sustain,
wherein lay her life's work.
" You two know one another, of course 1 " she re-
marked. "Paris is no larger than London, after all."
" Sir George and I have met once at least," the
Baron said, smiling. " I am glad that he does me the
honor of remembering the occasion."
Duncombe felt himself no match for his companion
with the foils. He let the conversation drift, and
waited for his opportunity. Presently some more guests
arrived, and Duncombe drew his host on one side.
" Hadley," he said, " how long have you known the
Baron ? "
A MAKER OF HISTORY 81
"Met him at Dorset House about two years ago, I
think," Hadley answered. "He was doing a round of
country-houses. I 'm not sure that he did n't stay at
Sandringham. One of the real old French families, you
know, De Seurs."
Buncombe nodded. There did not seem to be much
that he could say. He mingled with the other guests,
and observed his social duties. But he watched the
Baron, and he took care that they left together.
" Are you going my way, Baron ? " he asked, as they
stepped into the Place Vendome.
" I was going to the Cercle Anglais," the Baron an-
swered. " Do you belong ? "
" I am up for a month's membership, but I am not
elected yet," Duncombe answered.
" Then you shall come in as my guest," the Baron
"You are exceedingly kind," Duncombe answered.
" I wonder whether I might presume still further upon
your good nature and ask you a question."
" The asking," the Baron murmured, " involves
" You bear, I am told, an honored name, and you are
well received in society. Why do you associate with
murderers and thieves in that hell of a caf^ where I saw
you first ? "
The Baron smiled.
" My friend," he said, " I seek always the life amus-
ing, and I find it there."
" I was robbed before your eyes. Baron."
The Frenchman sighed.
" I am so sorry," he said, " that I did not see it. That
indeed would have been amusing."
82 A MAKER OF HISTORY
" You know that the young lady who sat with us is
dead ? "
" A most bizarre happening," the Baron assented with
a little sigh. " I cannot imagine how it occurred. The
newspaper reports are not convincing. One would like
to reconstruct the story. Poor little Flossie ! She
was most amusing, but just a little, a very little, too
fond of flourishing her jewellery. One will miss her,
"Referring for one moment to our meeting at the
caf d. You told me a story there — you and your friend
Madame — of a young English lady — which the facts
seem scarcely to sustain."
The Baron sighed.
" My friend," he said, " we did the best we could at
a moment's notice. I rather fancied the story my-
self. As to facts — what have they to do with it ?
You demanded a story, and you got it. I rather flat-
tered myself that under the circumstances it was not
" You admit now, then, that it was not the truth 1 "
"The truth! My dear Sir George! Supposing that
the whereabouts of your charming young friend had
been known to me, do you suppose that I should have
permitted myself to be bullied into disclosing it ? For-
give me if I speak plainly, but if you really wished
for information which you supposed that I had, your
method of seeking it put you at once out of court.
A French gentleman does not permit himself to be
Buncombe was silent for several moments. There
were many things which he could have said, but where
was the use ?
A MAKER OF HISTORY 83
" As a French gentleman, then," he said at last, " will
you permit me to make a personal appeal to you ? Miss
Phyllis Poynton is a young lady in whom I am deeply
interested. She was last seen at the Cafd Montmartre,
from which place she disappeared. I am an English-
man of your own station. Tell me where I can find her,
or what has become of her."
" My dear Sir George," the Baron said, " you might
have saved yourself a great deal of trouble if you had
spoken like this to me at the first. Frankly, then, I
have not the least idea. Young English ladies come and
go every evening at the Caf^ Montmartre, and such
places. One remembers only those who happen to have
amused one, and not always those. Forgive me if I speak
plainly. A young lady who had visited the Caf^ Mont-
martre alone — well, you might look for her anywhere,
but most assuredly in that case if your anxiety was to
induce her to return to her friends, you would be a little
too late. Ah ! We have arrived. Now, my friend, I
must make you free of the place."
Duncombe was fuming with anger, but he had dis-
cretion enough to remain silent.
" Do you play Bridge ? " the Baron asked, as they
entered the card-room.
" Occasionally," Duncombe assented.
" I will go and see if I can find any men," the Baron
remarked. " I will leave my young friend De Bergillac
to entertain you. The Vicomte de Bergillac — Sir
Duncombe shook hands with a pale, weary-looking
youth, whose whole appearance was distinguished by
marked symptoms of lassitude and ill-health. They
sat in easy-chairs almost opposite to one another,
84 A MAKER OF HISTORY
and Duncombe found the other's scrutiny almost
" You speak French, perhaps — yes ? " the young man
asked at length.
" Yes ! I speak French," Duncombe admitted.
" Then listen to me," the Vicomte said slowly. " I
speak as one man of honor to another. Do not play
cards in this club ! "
" Not play cards ? Why not ? " Duncombe asked,
"You can take my advice or leave it," the Vicomte
answered calmly. " I have no explanation to offer you.
If you chose to repeat my remark you would place me
in an exceedingly awkward position. You see, I rely
upon you as a man of honor."
" I am only too much obliged to you for the hint,"
Duncombe declared. " But this club — the Cercle
" The club is all right," the Vicomte admitted calmly.
" Unfortunately there is no place in Paris which would
be entirely safe for you. You have the misfortune, you
see, to be in opposition to some of my friends, who have
really unlimited opportunities for making things dis-
agreeable for you. Now I am beginning to talk, and
it is very foolish of me. Why don't you leave Paris,
" Why should I ? " Duncombe asked, a little sharply.
" I break no laws here, I wrong no one. I am here on
my own business, and I only ask to be let alone."
The Vicomte regarded him as one might look at a
spoilt child whom it was yet advisable to humor.
" Ah," he said, " they will not let you alone. You are
so obstinate, like all your country-people, or you would
A MAKEK OF HISTOEY 85
recognize it without roy risking so much by speaking.
You will have to leave Paris, and very soon. It is so
easily to be managed. A dispute at cards here — you
would certainly be in the wrong, and an ugly scandal
if you were not away in twenty-four hours. It is one
method of a thousand."
" You know so much," Buncombe said. " I have no
doubt that you know the one thing which I would give
years of my life to be satisfied about."
The boy's dark eyes were fixed steadily upon his.
"Sir George," he said, "there is nothing which I
can possibly say to you. My warning has been ex-
ceeding foolish, but after all if I can persuade you to
leave Paris I shall have done no great harm. As for
the cards — well, I must plead guilty to weakness
there. I have not the slightest objection to taking
the life of a man who is making a nuisance of himself,
but his honor I think one should not tamper with.
May I offer you a cigarette? Well, Louis, what
The Baron had strolled back into the room, and was
sitting on the arm of a chair.
" It will be all right directly," the Baron answered.'
" We have three, and old D Arcon has telephoned that
he will be here in five minutes."
Buncombe rose to his feet.
" It was really very careless of me," he said, " but I
completely forgot that I had an engagement at the
hotel at six o'clock. I am afraid that I shall not be
able to stop."
The Baron glanced quickly at his young friend.
There was nothing whatever to be learnt, though, from
his pale, boyish face. His own countenance had
86 A MAKEE OF HISTORY
darkened for the moment, but he recovered his com-
" As you will," he answered carelessly. " Perhaps you
can drop in later. Come and dine, will you, at half-
" I am much obliged to you, Baron," Duncombe said,
*' but I cannot accept your invitation. I am a lover of
plain speaking, so I will not plead a previous engage-
ment. But the one thing I want from you, the thing
which I have almost a right to demand, you will not
give. I do not feel, therefore, that any more than
ordinary intercourse is possible between us."
The Baron bowed gravely.
" My dear Sir George," he said, " I am answered. I
wish I could drive out of your mind that extraordinary
hallucination relative to my supposed knowledge of your
young English friend. It is impossible! Very good!
I shall look forward to a time, Sir George, when we may
meet on a better footing."
Duncombe left the hotel with the recollection of that
curiously ironic smile fresh in his mind.
THE SHADOWING OF DUNCOMBE
FOE three days Duncombe saw nothing of Spencer.
Three long days devoid of incident, hopelessly dull,
aimless, and uninteresting. On the fourth the only
change in the situation was scarcely a reassuring one.
He became aware that he was being watched.
There was no particular secrecy about it. Even in
the hotel itself some one was always on his heels. The
absence of any attempt at concealment convinced him
that it was the authorized police who had thus suddenly
showed their interest in him. The suspicion was soon
to be confirmed. The manager called him on the fourth
morning into his private office.
"Monsieur will pardon me, I trust," he said, "if I
take the liberty of asking him a question."
" Certainly ! " Duncombe answered. " Go ahead ! "
"Monsieur is aware that he has been placed under
the surveillance of the police ? "
" The fact," Duncombe said, " has been borne in upon
me during the last few hours. What of it ? "
The manager coughed.
" This is a cosmopolitan hotel, Sir George," he said,
"and we make no pretence at ultra-exclusiveness, but
we do not care to see the police on the premises."
" Neither do I," Duncombe answered. " Can you
suggest how we may get rid of them ? "
" Monsieur does not quite understand," the manager
88 A MAKER OF HISTOEY
said smootlily. " Clearly he has done something to
bring him under the suspicion of the law. Under these
circumstances it would be more agreeable to the man-
agement of the hotel if Monsieur would depart."
Buncombe did not wish to depart. The hotel at
which Phyllis Poynton's trunks were still awaiting her
return was the hotel at which he wished to stay.
" Look here, Monsieur Huber," he said. " I give you
my word of honor that I have broken no law, nor en-
gaged in any criminal action whatever since I came to
Paris. This game of having me watched is simply a
piece of bluff. I have done nothing except make in-
quiries in different quarters respecting those two young
English people who are still missing. In doing this I
seem to have run up against what is nothing more nor
less than a disgraceful conspiracy. Every hand is
against me. Instead of helping me to discover them,
the police seem only anxious to cover up the tracks of
those young people."
The manager looked down at his desk.
" We hotel-keepers," he said, " are very much in the
hands of the police. We cannot judge between them
and the people whom they treat as suspected persons.
I know very well. Sir George, that you are a person
of respectability and character, but if the police choose
to think otherwise I must adapt my views to theirs. I
am sorry, but we must really ask you to leave."
Sir George turned on his heel."
"Very good!" he said. "I will go and take rooms
He left the hotel, and walked towards the Kitz. At
the corner of the Place Vendome an automobile was
pulled up with a jerk within a few feet of him. A
A MAKER OF HISTORY 89
tired-looking boy leaned over wearily towards him from
the front seat.
"Sir George," he said, "can you give me five
minutes ? "
" With pleasure ! " he answered. " I was going into
the Eitz. Come and have something."
" To Maxim's, if you don't mind," the Vicomte said.
"It will take us only a moment."
Sir George stepped in. The Vicomte, in whose fingers
the wheel seemed scarcely to rest, so light and ap-
parently careless was his touch, touched a lever by his
side, released the clutch, and swung the great car round
the corner at a speed which made Duncombe grasp the
sides. At a pace which seemed to him most ridiculous,
the}^ dashed into the Rue de Rivoli, and with another
sharp turn pulled up before Maxim's. The Vicomte
rose with a yawn as though he had just awoke from
a refreshing dream. His servant slipped off his fur coat,
and he descended to the pavement faultlessly dressed
and quite unruffled. The commissionaire preceded them,
hat in hand, to the door. A couple of waiters ushered
them to the table which the Vicomte intimated by a
" I myself," he remarked, drawing off his gloves, " take
nothing but absinthe. What may I have the pleasure
of ordering for you ? "
Duncombe ordered a whisky and soda.
" I think," he said, " there is one thing which I ought
to tell you at once. I am being shadowed by the police.
The man who has just arrived, and who seems a little
breathless, is, I believe, the person whose duty it is to
dog my footsteps in the daytime."
" What a pity ! " the Vicomte murmured. " I would at
90 A MAKEE OF HISTOEY
least have taken you a mile or so round the boulevards if
I had known. But wait 1 You are sure — that it is the
police by whom you are being watched ? "
" Quite," Buncombe answered. " The manager of the
hotel has spoken to me about it. He has asked me, in
fact, to leave."
" To leave the hotel ? "
" Yes ! I was on my way to the Eitz to secure rooms
when I met you."
The Vicomte sipped his absinthe gravely.
" I should not take those rooms," he said. " You will
in all probability not occupy them." ,
" Why not ? "
" It has been decided," the Vicomte said, " that you are
to be driven out of Paris. In the end you will have to
go. I think if I were you I would not wait. The train
de luxe to Calais is more comfortable than a wet bench
in the Morgue or a French prison."
" Who has decided this ? " Duncombe asked. " What
Emperor has signed the decree of my banishment ? "
" There have been worse served Emperors," the Vi-
comte remarked, " than the, shall we say person, who
bids you go ! "
" What is my offence ? " Duncombe asked.
"I know nothing," the Vicomte answered slowly,
pouring himself out some absinthe.
" Who are my judges, then ? What secret authorities
have I incensed ? I am an honest man, engaged in an
honest mission. AVhy should I not be allowed to
execute it ? "
The Vicomte half closed his eyes. Duncombe was a
little angry. The Vicomte regarded him with reproach-
A MAKER OF IIISTOEY 91
" You ask me so many questions," he murmured, " and
I tell you that I know nothing. I have asked you to
come here with me because I had just this to say. I
can answer no questions, offer no explanations. I have
no particular liking for you, but I am afflicted with a
cursedly sensitive disposition, and — there are things
which I find it hard to watch with equanimity. There
is a train for England at nine o'clock this evening. Sir
George. Take it!"
Buncombe rose from his seat.
" I am very much obliged to you," he said. " I believe
that you are giving me what you believe to be good advice.
Whether I can follow it or not is a different matter."
The Vicomte sighed.
" You Englishmen," he said, " are so obstinate. It is
the anxiety concerning your friends, I suppose, which
keeps you here ? "
" Yes ! "
The Vicomte hesitated. He looked up and down the
room, and especially at the man whom Buncombe had
pointed out to him. He had edged nearer and nearer
till he was almost within earshot. The Vicomte's voice,
always low, became a whisper.
"I can tell you this much, at any rate," he said.
" Whatever their present condition may be, it is more
likely to be improved than made worse by your depart-
ure. You are a well-meaning person. Monsieur, but you
do nobody any good here, and you risk — more than I
dare tell you."
The Vicomte turned away to greet a little party of
friends who had just entered. Buncombe strolled back
to the hotel, and found Spencer walking restlessly up
and down the hall waiting for him.
92 A MAKER OF HISTORY
" At last ! " he exclaimed, with a sigh of relief. " Come
up into my room, Spencer. We can talk there."
He rang for the lift, and as they ascended he watched
the other anxiously. Spencer was looking pale and dis-
turbed. His eyes showed signs of sleeplessness, and he
had not the air of a man who has good news to impart.
As soon as they were inside the room he locked the
" Buncombe," he said, " there is a train which leaves
Paris for London at four o'clock. You must catch it —
if you are allowed to. Don't look like that, man. I tell
you you 've got to do it. If you are in Paris to-night you
will be in prison."
" For what offence ? " Buncombe asked.
" For the murder of Mademoiselle Flossie. They are
training the witnesses now. The whole thing is as easy
as A B C. They can prove you so guilty that not even
your best friend would doubt it. Pack your clothes,
man, or ring for the valet."
Buncombe hesitated, but he, too, was pale.
" Are you serious, Spencer ? " he asked.
" I am so serious," Spencer answered, " that unless you
obey me I will not move another finger in this mat-
ter. You lose nothing by going. All that a human
being can do I will do ! But you lose your life, or, at
any rate, your liberty if you stay."
Buncombe bowed his head to fate.
" Very well ! " he said. " I will go ! "
" '\7'C)U have heard now," Duncombe said, finally,
i "the whole history of my wanderings. I feel
like a man who has been beating the air, who has been
at war with unseen and irresistible forces. I never
seemed to have a chance. In plain words, I have failed
utterly ! "
The two men were sitting in a room impossible of
classification. It might have been a study, smoking-
room, or gun-room. The walls were adorned with
stags' heads and various trophies of the chase. There
were guns and rifles in plenty in a rack by the chimney-
piece, a row of bookcases along the north wall, golf
clubs, cricket bats, and foils everywhere. A pile of
logs ready for burning stood in the open grate, and
magnificent rugs were spread about the floor. Xowhere
was there the slightest trace of a woman's presence, for
Duncombe had no sisters, and his was entirely a bachelor
Duncombe himself and Andrew Pelham were seated
in great easy-chairs in front of the open window. It
was his first fine evening at home, and he was drinking
in great draughts of the fresh pure air, fragrant with
the perfume of roses and huge clusters of wallflowers.
Paris had seemed to him like a great oven. All the
time he had been half stifled, and yet he knew very
well that- at a word from Spencer he would have re-
94 A MAKER OF HISTORY
turned there at an hour's notice. He knew, too, that
the home which he had loved all his days could never
be quite the same place to him again.
Andrew roused himself from rather a prolonged
" You were a brick to go, George," he said. " It is
more than any one else in the world would have done
Dimcombe laughed a little uneasily. He knocked the
ashes from his pipe and refilled it slowly.
"Andrew," he said, "I don't want to seem a fraud.
I dare say that I might have gone for you alone — but I
His friend smiled faintly.
" Ah ! " he remarked. " I had forgotten your little
infatuation. It has n't worn off yet, then ? "
" No, nor any signs of it," Duncombe answered
bluntly. " It 's an odd position for a matter-of-fact
person like myself, is n't it ? I tell you, Andrew, I Ve
really tried to care for some of the girls about here.
The place wants a mistress, and I 'm the tenth baronet
in the direct line. One 's got to think about these things,
you know. I 've tried hard, and I 've never even come
" It will wear off," Andrew said. " It is a very charm-
ing little fancy, a most delightful bit of sentiment, George,
but with nothing behind it it can't last."
" Perhaps not," Duncombe answered quietly. " All
that I know is that it has shown no signs of wearing
off up to now. It was in Paris exactly as it is here.
And I know very well that if I thought it would do
her the least bit of good I would start back to Paris or
to the end of the world to-night."
A MAKER OF niSTORY 95
"I must readjust my views of you, George," his
friend said with mild satire. " I always looked upon
you as fair game for the Norfolk dowagers with their
broods of daughters, but I never contemplated your
fixing your affections upon a little piece of paste-
" Kot ! It is the girl herself," Dujicombe declared.
" But you have never seen her."
Duncombe shrugged his shoulders. He said nothing.
What was the use ? Never seen her ! Had she not
found her way into every beautiful place his life had
" If you had," Andrew murmured — " ah, well, the
picture is like her. I remember when she was a
child. She was always fascinating, always delightful
Duncombe looked out upon the gardens which he
loved, and sighed.
"If only Spencer would send for me to go back to
Paris," he said with a sigh.
Andrew turned his head.
"You can imagine now," he said, "what I have been
suffering. The desire for action sometimes is almost
maddening. I think that the man who sits and waits
has the hardest task."
They were silent for some time, smoking steadily.
Then Duncombe reverted once more to his wanderings.
" You remember the story they told me at the Caf^,
Andrew," he said. " It was a lie, of course, but was
Miss Poynton anything of an artist ? "
" To the best of my belief," Andrew answered, " she
has never touched a brush or a pencil since she left
96 A MAKEH OF HISTORY
Duncombe looked out into the gathering twilight.
" It is a devil's riddle, this ! " he said slowly. " Why
did she go to that place at all ? "
" God only knows ! " Andrew murmured.
Duncombe's teeth were hard set. A paper-knife,
which he had caught up from the table, snapped in
his fingers. There was something in his throat which
nearly choked him.
" Phyllis Poynton," Andrew continued, " was as sweet
and pure a woman as ever breathed. She must have
loathed that place. She could only have gone there to
seek for her brother, or "
" Or for whom ? "
*' For those who knew where he was."
Duncombe turned his head.
" Andrew ! "
" Yes, old chap ! "
" Let me look at her photograph again."
Andrew drew it from his pocket and passed it over.
Duncombe studied it for several moments under the
" You are right, Andrew," he said slowly. " For
her the other things would not be possible. I
His fingers clung to the photograph. He looked
.across at his friend. There was a slight flush in his
face. He spoke nervously.
" Andrew," he said, " I 'm afraid it sounds a bit brutal,
but — this photograph is no use to you just now, is it,
until your eyes get better. Will you lend it me ? "
" I could n't," Andrew answered quietly. " I can't
see it now of course, but I like to feel it in my pocket,
and it will be the first thing I shall look at when the
A MAKER OF HISTORY 97
doctor lets me take off these beastly glasses — if ever
he does. Until then — well, I like to feel I've got it.
They both smoked furiously for several moments with-
out looking at one another. Duncombe spoke first.
" Andrew ! "
« Well ? "
"If she comes back — shall you ever ask her to marry
" I don't know, George. I 'm poor, and I 'm twelve
years older than she is. I don't know."
There was another silence. Then the conversation
drifted back once more to the one subject which was
monopolizing the thought of both of them.
" I tell you what seems to me to be the most extraor-
dinary part of the whole business," Duncombe said.
" First the brother disappears. Then without a word
to any one the sister also rushes off to Paris, and van-
ishes from the face of the earth after a series of ex-
traordinary proceedings. One supposes naturally that
if they have come to harm anywhere — if there has
been a crime — there must have been a motive. WTiat
is it ? You say that their banking account has been
undisturbed ? "
" It was last week. I should hear if any cheques
" And the boy's letter of credit even has never been
drawn upon ! "
" No 1 Not since he left Vienna."
" Then the motive cannot be robbery. Thank Heaven,"
Duncombe added, with a little shudder, " that it was the
boy who went first."
« Don't ! "
98 A MAKER OF HISTORY
A great winged insect came buzzing into the room.
Buncombe struck viciously at it with the palm of his
" Lord ! " he muttered, " what a fool I am ! I 've never
been away from home before, Andrew, without longing
to get back, and here I am, just back from Paris in
August, from turning night into day, from living just
the sort of life I hate, and I 'd give anything to be
going back there to-morrow. I 'm a haunted man,
Andrew. I got up last night simply because I could n't
sleep, and walked down as far as the paddock. I
seemed to see her face in all the shadowy corners, to
see her moving towards me from amongst the trees.
And I 'm not an imaginative person, Andrew, and I 've
got no nerves. Look ! "
He held out his hand, strong and firm and brown. It
was as steady as a rock.
" I can't sleep," he continued, " I can't rest. Is there
witchcraft in this thing, Andrew ? "
Andrew Pelham laughed shortly. It was a laugh
which had no kinship to mirth.
"And I," he said, "have seen her grow up. We
were boy and girl together. I stole apples for her. I
have watched her grow from girlhood into womanhood.
I have known flesh and blood, and you a cardboard
image. I too am a strong man, and I am helpless. I
lie awake at night and I think. It is as though the
red flames of hell were curling up around me. George,
if she has come to any evil, whether I am blind or
whether I can see, I '11 grope my way from country to
country till my hand is upon the throat of the beast
who has harmed her."
The man's voice shook with passion. Buncombe was
A MAKER OF HISTORY 99
awed into silence. He had known Andrew Pelham
always as a good-natured, good-hearted giant, beloved
of children and animals, deeply religious, a man whose
temper, if he possessed such a thing, was always strictly
under control. Such an outburst as this was a revela-
tion. Buncombe understood then how slight a thing his
own suffering was.
"You shall not go alone, Andrew," he said softly.
" But for the present we must wait. If any one can
help us, Spencer will."
A servant came in with the whisky and glasses, and
silently arranged them upon the table. Buncombe rose
and attended to his duties as host.
"Can I get you anything further, sir?" the man
" Nothing, thanks," Buncombe answered. " Tell the
servants to go to bed. We will lock up. Say when,
Andrew ! "
Andrew took his glass mechanically. Out in the lane
the silence of the summer night was suddenly broken
by the regular tread of horses' feet and the rumbling of
vehicles. Buncombe Hall was built like many of the
old-fashioned houses in the country, with its back to
the road, and the window at which they were sitting
looked out upon it. Buncombe leaned forward in his
" Visitors by the last train going up to Eunton Place,"
he remarked. " Eunton has quite a large party for the
first. Hullo ! They 're stopping. I 'd better go out."
He rose from his chair. The omnibus had stopped
in the lane, and they could hear the voices of the
occupants clearly through the soft darkness. Some one
was apparently getting out, and stumbled. A girl's soft
100 'A MAKEE OF HISTOEY
laugh rang out distinctly above the man's exclamation.
Dun combe was already stepping over the window-sill
when he felt a clutch like iron upon his shoulder. He
looked round in amazement. Andrew's face was trans-
formed. He was struggling for words.
" Her voice ! " he exclaimed hoarsely. " Am I dream-
ing, George ? It was her voice ! "
LAUGHTER OF WOMEN
THE door of the omnibus was opened as Buncombe
stepped over the low wall into the road. A tall
man in a long light Inverness descended.
" Hullo, Buncombe ! " he exclaimed, holding out his
hand ; " I was coming in to see you for a moment."
" Good man ! " Buncombe answered. " Bring your
friends, won't you ? "
He held open the gate hospitably, but Lord Kunton
shook his head.
" I only wanted a word with you," he said. " We 're all
starving, and if you don't mind we '11 get on as quickly
as we can. About to-morrow. You shoot with us, of
course ? "
" Belighted ! " Buncombe answered.
" Cresswell met me at the station," Lord Eunton con-
tinued. " I 'd drawn out a plan for the shoot, but it
seems that Cresswell — old fool — hasn't got his har-
vest in from the two fields by Ketton's Gorse. "What I
wanted to ask you was if we might take your turnips
up from ]\Iile's bottom to the north end of the gorse.
We can make our circuit then without a break."
"My dear fellow!" Buncombe protested, "was it
worth while asking me such a thing ? Of course you
" That 's settled, then," Lord Eunton declared, turning
back towards the omnibus. " Let me introduce you to
102 A MAKER OF HISTOEY
my friends," he added, resting his hand upon the other's
shoulder, " and then we '11 be off."
Duncombe, in whose ears his friend's cry was still
ringing, pressed eagerly forward.
"This is my neighbor, Sir George Duncombe,"
Lord Kunton said, looking into the carriage, "who
will shoot with us to-morrow. Miss Fielding and
Mr. Fielding, Lady Angrave and the Baron Yon
Lady Angrave held out her hand.
" Sir George and I are almost old friends," she said,
with a somewhat languid smile. "We were both at
Castle Holkham last autumn."
Duncombe murmured something conventional as
he bowed over her fingers. His whole attention was
riveted upon the tall, pale girl in the further corner
of the omnibus. Her acknowledgment of his intro-
duction had been of the slightest, and her features
were obscured by a white veil. She looked away from
him at once and continued a whispered conversation
with the white-haired gentleman at her side. Dun-
combe could think of no excuse for addressing
" I shall have the pleasure of meeting you all again
to-morrow," he said, closing the door after Lord Runton.
" I won't keep you now. I know what the journey is
down from town. Good night, Runton ! "
" Good night, George. Ten o'clock sharp ! "
The carriage rolled off, and Duncombe returned to his
own domain. Andrew was waiting for him impatiently
by the gate.
"Well!" he exclaimed eagerly, "you have seen her.
A MAKER OF HISTORY 103
The man was trembling with excitement. There were
drops of perspiration upon his forehead. His voice
" I saw a young lady in the carriage," Duncombe an-
swered, " or rather I did not see her, for she wore a veil,
and she scarcely looked at me. But she was introduced
to me as Miss Fielding, and her father was with her."
" Fielding ! Fielding ! " Andrew repeated. " Never
mind that. What was she like! What colored hair
" I told you that she kept her veil down," Duncombe
repeated. "Her hair was a sort of deep red-brown —
what I could see of it. But, seriously, Andrew, what
is the use of discussing her ? One might as soon expect
one of my housemaids to change into Phyllis Poynton,
as to discover her with a brand-new father, a brand-new
name, and a guest at Eunton Place."
Andrew was silent for a moment. He touched his
spectacles with a weary gesture, and covered his eyes
with his hand.
" Yes," he said, " I suppose you are right. I suppose
I am a fool. But — the voice ! "
""The laughter of women," said Duncombe, " is music
all the world over. One cannot differ very much from
" You are quite wrong, George," Andrew said. " The
voices of women vary like the thumb-marks of crimi-
nals. There are no two attuned exactly alike. It is
the receptive organs that are at fault. We, who
have lost one sense, find the others a little keener.
The laughter of that girl — George, will you keep me
a few days longer ? Somehow I cannot bring myself
to leave until I have heard her voice once more."
10-i A MAKER OF HISTOEY
Duncombe laughed heartily.
"My dear fellow," he said, "I shall bless your un-
commonly sensitive ears if they keep you here with
me even for an extra few days. You shall have your
opportunity, too. I always dine at Kunton Place after
our first shoot, and I know Eunton quite well enough to
take you. You shall sit at the same table. Hullo,
what 's this light wobbling up the drive ? "
He strolled a yard or so away, and returned.
" A bicycle," he remarked. " One of the grooms
has been down to the village. I shall have to speak to
Burdett in the morning. I wiU not have these fellows
coming home at all sorts of times in the morning.
Come along in, Andrew. Just a drain, eh ? And a
cigarette — and then to bed. Eunton 's keen on his bag,
and they say that German, Von Eothe, is a fine shot.
Can't let them have it all their own way."
"Xo fear of that," Andrew answered, stepping
through the window. *' 1 11 have the cigarette, please,
but I don't care about any more whisky. The * Field '
mentioned your name only a few weeks ago as one of
the finest shots at rising birds in the country, so I don't
think you need fear the German."
" I ought to hold my own with the partridges,"
Duncombe admitted, helping himself from the siphon,
"but come in, come in!"
A servant entered with a telegram upon a silver
" A boy has just brought this from Eunton, sir," he
Duncombe tore it open. He was expecting a message
from his gun-maker, and he opened it without any
particular interest, but as he read, his whole manner
A MAKER OF HISTOHY 105
changed. He held the sheet in front of him long
enough to have read it a dozen times. He could not
restrain the slight start — a half exclamation. Then
his teeth came together. He remembered the servant
and looked up.
" There will be no answer to-night, Murray," he said.
" Give the boy a shilliug and some supper. If he goes
home by the Eunton gates, tell him to be sure and close
them, because of the deer."
" Very good, sir ! "
The man departed. Buncombe laid the telegram
upon the table. He felt that Andrew was waiting
impatiently for him to speak.
" The telegram is from Spencer," Duncombe said.
" He has discovered something ? "
" On the contrary," Duncombe answered, " he is
asking me for information, and very curious informa-
" What does he want to know ? "
" The telegram," Duncombe said slowly, " is in. French.
He asks me to wire him at once the names of all the
guests at Eunton Place."
Andrew struck the table a mighty blow with his
" I knew it ! " he cried. " It was her laugh, her
voice. Phyllis Poynton is there ! "
Duncombe looked at his friend incredulously.
" My dear Andrew," he said, " be reasonable. The
young lady and her father in that omnibus were intro-
duced to me by Eunton himself as Mr. and Miss Fielding.
106 A MAKER OF HISTORY
They are going to his house as his guests. Naturally,
therefore, he knows all about them. Miss Poynton, as
you have told me more than once, is an orphan."
" Common-sense won't even admit it as a matter of
argument," Andrew said. " I know that quite well.
But how do you account for Spencer's telegram ? "
"Remember that he is a newspaper correspondent,"
Buncombe said. " He has many interests and many
friends with whom he is constantly exchanging in-
formation. It is a coincidence, I admit. But the
wildest flight of imagination could not make any
more of it."
" You must be right," Andrew said quietly. " It all
sounds, and is, so convincing. But I wish that I had
not heard that laugh 1 "
MISS FIELDING FROM AMERICA
DUNCOMBE leaned his gun up against a gate. A
few yards away his host was talking to the ser-
vants who had brought down luncheon. The rest of
the party were only just in sight a field or two
" Have a glass of sherry before lunch, George ? " his
host asked, strolling towards him.
" Nothing to drink, thanks ! I 'd like a cigarette, if
you have one."
Lord Kunton produced his case, and a servant brought
them matches. They both leaned over the gate, and
watched the scattered little party slowly coming towards
" Who is your friend Fielding ? " Dun combe asked,
a little bluntly,
" Fellow from New York," Lord Eunton answered.
" He 's been very decent to my brother out there, and
Archibald wrote and asked me to do all we could for
them. The girl is very handsome. You'll see her at
" Here for long ? ''
" No, unfortunately," Lord Eunton answered. " I had
very hard work to get them to come at all. Cicely
has written them three or four times, I think, but
108 A MAKEK OF HISTOKY
they Ve always had engagements. They 're only staying
till Monday, I think. Very quiet, inoffensive sort of
chap, Fielding, but the girl 's a ripper ! Hullo ! Here
they are. 1 11 introduce you."
A gi'oom had thrown open the gate of the field across
which they were looking, and Lady Eunton from the
box seat of a small mail phaeton waved her whip.
She drove straight across the furrows towards them
a little recklessly, the groom running behind. By
her side was a girl with coils of deep brown hair, and
a thick black veil worn after the fashion of the travel-
" Just in time, are n't we ? " Lady Eunton remarked,
as she brought the horses to a standstill. "Help me
down. Jack, and look after Miss Fielding, Sir George.
By the bye, have you two met yet ? "
Buncombe bowed — he was bareheaded — and held
out his hands.
" I saw Miss Fielding for a moment last night," he
said, " or rather I did n't see her. We were introduced,
however. What do you think of our maligned English
weather, Miss Fielding ? " he asked.
She raised her veil and looked at him deliberately.
He had been prepared for this meeting, and yet it was
with difficulty that he refrained from a start. The like-
ness of the photograph (it was even at that moment in
his pocket) was wonderful. She looked a little older,
perhaps. There were shadows in her face of which
there were no traces in the picture. And yet the like-
ness was wonderful.
" To-day at least is charming," she said. " But then
I am quite used to your climate, you know. I have
lived in Europe almost as much as in America."
A MAKEE OF HISTORY 109
She certainly had no trace of any accent. She
spoke a little more slowly, perhaps, than most young
Englishwomen, but there was nothing whatever in her
words or in her pronunciation of them to suggest a
transatlantic origin. She stood by his side looking
about her with an air of interest, and Buncombe began
to wonder whether after all she was not more beautiful
than the photograph which he had treasured so jeal-
ously. He became conscious of a desire to keep her
by his side.
" Is your father shooting. Miss Fielding ? "
She laughed softly.
"You don't know my father. Sir George," she an-
swered. " He hates exercise, detests being out of doors,
and his idea of Paradise when he is away from business
is to be in a large hotel where every one speaks English,
where there are tapes and special editions and an
"Then I am afraid Mr. Fielding will find it rather
hard to amuse himself down here."
"Well, he's discovered the telephone," she said.
" He 's spending the morning ringing up people all over
the country. He was talking to his bankers when we
came out. Oh, here come the rest of them. How tired
they look, poor things — especially the Baron ! Nature
never meant him to tramp over ploughed fields, I am
sure. Baron, I was just saying how warm you
The Baron took off his cap, gave up his gun to a
keeper, and turned a glowing face towards them.
" My dear young lady," he declared, " I am warm.
I admit it, but it is good for me. Very good indeed.
110 A MAKER OF HISTOEY
I tried to make your father walk with us. He will be
sure to suffer some day if he takes no exercise."
" Oh, father 's never ill," the girl answered. " But
then he eats nothing, Sir George, I hope you 're going
to devote yourself to me at luncheon. I'm terribly
" So we all are," Lady Eunton declared. " Come
along, every one."
Luncheon was served in a large open bam, pleas-
antly fragrant of dried hay, and with a delightful
view of the sea far away in the distance. Miss Fielding
chattered to every one, was amusing and amused.
The Baron gave her as much of his attention as he was
ever disposed to bestow upon any one at meal-times,
and Duncombe almost forgot that he had breakfasted
at eight o'clock.
" Charming young person, that ! " said Lady Eun-
ton's neighbor to her. " One of our future Duchesses,
I suppose ? "
Lady Eunton smiled.
"Lots of money, Teddy," she answered. "What a
pity you have n't a title ! "
The young man — he was in the Foreign Office —
sighed, and shook his head.
" Such things are not for me," he declared senten-
tiously. " My affections are engaged."
" That is n't the least reason why you should n't
marry money," her ladyship declared, lighting a cig-
arette. " Go and talk to her ! "
" Can't spoil sport ! " he answered, shaking his head.
"By Jove! Duncombe is making the running, though,
is n't he ? "
Her ladyship raised her glasses. Duncombe and
A MAKEK OF HISTORY 111
Miss Fielding had strolled outside the ham. He was
showing her his house — a very picturesque old place
it looked, down in the valley.
" It 's nothing but a farmhouse, of course," he said.
"No pretensions to architecture or anything of that
sort, of course, but it 's rather a comfortable old place."
" I think it is perfectly charming," the gui said.
"Do you live there all alone ? You have sisters
perhaps ? "
He shook his head.
" No such luck ! " he answered. " Mine is entirely
a bachelor establishment. A great part of the time
I am alone. Just now I have a pal staying with me —
awfully decent chap, from Devonshire."
She was certainly silent for a moment. He fancied
too that there was a change in her face.
"From Devonshire!" she repeated, with a careless-
ness which, if it was not natural, was exceedingly well
assumed. " I believe I knew some people once who
came from there. What is your friend's name. Sir
He turned slowly towards her.
" Andrew Pelham 1 " he said quietly. " He comes
from a place called Eaynesworth."
" He is staying here now — with you ? "
"Yes," he answered gravely.
It was not his fancy this time. Of that he felt sure.
Her face for the moment had been the color of chalk —
a little exclamation had been strangled upon her lips.
She shot a quick glance at him. He met it steadily.
" You know the name ? " he asked.
She shook her head.
"The name — yes," she answered, "but not the
112 A MxVKER OF HISTORY
person. A very old friend of mine was called Andrew
Pelham, but he was an American, and he has never
been in England. It startled me, though, to hear the
exact name from you."
She was herself again. Her explanation was care-
lessly given. It sounded even convincing, but Dun-
combe himself was not convinced. He knew that she
wanted him to be. He felt her eyes seeking his, study-
ing his face. Perhaps she was only anxious that he
should not misunderstand.
" George, are you ready ? " his host called out.
"We're going to take Smith's pastures."
" Quite ! " Buncombe answered. " Until this evening.
"You are dining at Runton Place?" she asked
" Yes," he answered. " Will you tell me all about
your Andrew Pelham ? "
She raised her eyes to his and smiled.
"Do you think that you would be interested?" she
" You know that I should," he answered quietly.
For a time he shot badly. Then he felt that his
host's eye was upon him, and pulled himself together.
But he was never at his best. He felt that the whole
world of his sensations had been suddenly disturbed.
It was impossible that there could be any connection
between this girl and the photograph which had first
fired him with the impulse to undertake that most
extraordinary and quixotic mission. Yet the fact
remained that the girl herself had had very much the
same effect upon him as his first sight of the photo-
graph. It was a coincidence, of course. Miss Fielding
A MAKEE OF HISTOEY 113
was charming. There was no reason why he should
not indulge to the full his admiration of her. She had
affected him in a most curious manner. Another man
would have declared himself in love with her. It was
not possible that she could be any one but Miss Field-
iug. That start which he had fancied that he had
noticed, the sudden aging of her face, the look almost of
fear ! Absurd ! He was losing his nerves. It was not
possible, he told himself steadfastly. And yet
Some of the women were following them in a
leisurely sort of way behind. Miss Fielding was there,
walking a little apart. She carried her hat in her hand.
The wind, which was blowing the skirts of her white
cloth dress about her, was making havoc in her glorious
hair. She walked with her head thrown back, with
all the effortless grace of youth — a light heart, an easy
conscience. He deliberately left his place and walked
back to meet her. She waved her hand gayly. There
was color in her cheeks now, and her eyes laughed into
his. The shadows were gone. He felt that this was
madness, and yet he said what he had come back to say.
"I thought that you might be interested to know.
Miss Fielding, that you will meet the gentleman — with
the same name as your friend — this evening. Lord
Eunton has been good enough to ask him to come up
She nodded gayly.
" What a crowd of sentimental memories his coming
will evoke ! " she declared. " Be nice to me, won't you,
and help me dispel them ? '^
"Perhaps," he said, smiling with a great relief; "I
might prefer to try to construct a few on my own
114 A MAKER OF HISTORY
" Go and do your duty," she commanded, laughing.
Duncombe hastened to his place. His eyes were
bright. He felt that he was walking upon air.
" What a double distilled ass I nearly made of my-
self!" he muttered.
' Go and do your duty,' she commanded.
MISS FIELDING ASKS A QUESTION
SHE came into the room a little late, and her en-
trance created almost a sensation. Buncombe
only knew that she wore a black gown and looked di\ine.
Lady Eunton murmured "Paquin" with a sigh and
"These girls might at least leave us black," she
murmured to her neighbor. "What pearls!"
Buncombe stepped forward to meet her. He could
not keep the admiration from his eyes. Her shoulders
and slim graceful neck were as white as alabaster, her
hair was a gorgeous brown kissed into fine gold glim-
mering as though with a touch of some hidden fire.
She moved with the delightful freedom of absolute
naturalness. He murmured something which sounded
ridiculously commonplace, and she laughed at him.
" Bo you know that you are going to take me in ? "
she said. "I hope that you are prepared to be very
amusing. Bo tell me which is your friend."
Then Buncombe remembered Andrew, who was
standing by his side. He turned towards him, and
the words suddenly died away upon his lips. Andrew's
tall frame was shaking as though with some power-
ful emotion. He was standing with his head thrust
forward as though listening intently. Buncombe set
116 A MAKEE OF HISTOEY
"Will you allow me to present my friend Miss
Fielding ? " he said. " Andrew, this is Miss Fielding.
Mr. Pelham, Miss Fielding."
She held out her hand and took his passive fingers.
" I am so glad to know you, Mr. Pelham," she said
pleasantly. " Sir George gave me quite a shock to-
day when he spoke of you. I was once very nearly
engaged to an Andrew Pelham in Baltimore, and I had
most distressing visions of all my old sweethearts turn-
ing up to spoil my good time here."
Andrew's voice sounded odd and restrained.
" I have never been in America," he said.
" You need not be afraid that I am going to claim
you," she declared. " You are at least a foot taller than
my Andrew. You don't even inspire me with any tender
recollections of him. Baron, I do hope that you have
not taken too much exercise."
" My dear young lady," he answered, bowing, " I never
felt better in my life ! Be thankful that it is not your
hard fate to be my dinner companion. I am so hungry
I should have no time for conversation."
" On the contrary," she declared, "I — almost regret
it ! I much prefer to do some of the talking myself, but
I seldom get a chance. Will you promise to give me a
show to-night. Sir George ? "
" As long as you permit me to say two or three things
which are in my mind," he answered, lowering his
voice a little, " you may do all the rest of the talking."
"Dear me, I am curious already," she exclaimed.
"What are the two or three things. Sir George?
Wliy 1 Do you see — nearly every one has gone," she
added suddenly. " Come along ! "
A MAKER OF HISTORY 117
She laid her hand upon his arm and led him away.
Soon he was by her side at tlie table. Their com-
panions were uninteresting. Andrew was out of sight.
Buncombe forgot everything else in the world except
that he was with her.
Their conversation was of trifles, yet intimate trifles.
The general talk buzzed all roimd them. Neither made
any effort to arrest it. To Buncombe she seemed simply
the image he had created and worshipped suddenly
come to life. That it was not in fact her picture
went for nothing. There was no infidelity. The girl
who had existed in his dreams was here. It was for
her that he had departed from the even tenor of his
ways, for her he had searched in Paris, for her he had
braved the horrors of that unhappy week. Already
he felt that she belonged to him, and in a vague sort
of way she, too, seemed to be letting herself drift,
to be giving color to his unconscious assumption
by her lowered tone, by the light in her eyes which
answered his, by all those little nameless trifles which
go to the sealing of unwritten compacts.
Once her manner changed. Her father, who was
on the opposite side of the table a little way off, leaned
forward and addressed her.
"Say, Sybil, where did we stay in Paris? I've for-
gotten the name of the place."
"L'hotel dAthfenes," she answered, and at once re-
sumed her conversation with Buncombe.
But somehow the thread was broken. Buncombe
found himself watching the little gray man opposite,
who ate and drank so sparingly, who talked only when
he was spoken to, and yet who seemed to be taking
a keen but covert interest in everything that went on
118 A MAKER OF HISTORY
about him. Her father • There was no likeness, no
shadow of a likeness. Yet Buncombe felt almost a per-
sonal interest in him. They would know one another
better some day, he felt.
" So you 've been in Paris lately ? " he asked her
" For a few days."
" I arrived from there barely a week ago," he re-
" I hate the jjlace ! " she answered. " Talk of some-
And he obeyed.
The second interruption came from Andrew. During
a momentary lull in the conversation they heard his firm
clear voice talking.
" My time was up yesterday, but I find so much to
interest me down here that I think I shall stay on for
a few more days, if my host remains as hospitable as
" So much to interest him," she murmured. " Are
not all places the same to the blind ? What does he
mean ? "
" He is not really blind ! " Buncombe answered, lower-
ing his voice. "He can see things very dimly. The
doctor has told him that if he wears those glasses for a
few more months he may be able to preserve some
measure of eyesight. Poor chap ! "
"He does not attract me — your friend," she said
a little coldly. " What can he find to interest him so
much here ? Do you see how he keeps his head turned
this way ? It is almost as though he wished to listen
to what we were saying."
A MAKEE OF HISTORY 119
"There is a sort of reason for that," Diincombe
answered. " Shall I explain it ? "
" Do ! "
"Pelham lives, as I think I told you, in a small
country-house near Raynesworth," Buncombe began.
"The hall in his village was occupied by a young
man — a boy, really — and his sister. Early in the year
the boy, who had never been abroad, thought that he
would like to travel a little in Europe. He wandered
about some time in Germany and Austria, and was
coming home by Paris. Suddenly all letters from him
ceased. He did not return. He did not write. He
drew no money from his letter of credit. He simply
The girl was proceeding tranquilly with her dinner.
The story so far did not seem to interest her.
" His sister, who went over to Paris to meet him,
found herself quite alone there, and we supposed that
she devoted herself to searching for him. And then
curiously enough she, too, disappeared. Letters from
her suddenly ceased. No one knew what had become
She looked at him with a faint smile.
" Now," she said, " your story is becoming interesting.
Do go on. I want to know where you and Mr. Pelham
"Pelham, I think," he continued gravely, "was
their oldest friend. He sent for me. We were old col-
lege chums, and I went. This trouble with his eyes
had only just come on, and he was practically help-
less — much more helpless than the ordinary blind per-
son, because it was all new to him. This boy and girl
were his old and dear friends. He was longing to
120 A MAKEE OF HISTORY
be off to Paris to search for them himself, and yet
he knew that so far as he was concerned it would
be simply wasted time. He showed me the girl's
" Well ? "
" I went in his place."
" And did you find either of them ? "
" I wonder," she said, " why you have told me this
story ? "
"I am going to tell you why," he answered, "Be-
cause when Pelham heard you laugh last night he was
like a madman. He believed that it was the voice of
Phyllis Poynton. And I — I — when I saw you, I
also felt that miracles were at hand. Look here ! '*
He drew a photograph from his pocket and showed
it to her. She looked at it long and earnestly.
" Yes," she admitted, " there is a likeness. It is
like what I might have been years ago. But will you
tell me something ? "
" Of course ! "
" AVhy do you carry the picture of that girl about
with you ? "
He leaned towards her, and at that moment Lady
Eunton rose from her place.
"In the winter garden afterwards," he whispered.
" You have asked me the very question that I wanted
to answer ! "
GEORGE BUNCOMBE'S LIE
THERE was something strange about Andrew's
manner as he moved up to Buncombe's side.
The latter, who was in curiously high spirits, talked
incessantly for several minutes. Then he came to a
dead stop. He was aware that his friend was not
" What is the matter with you, old chap ? " he asked
abruptly. " You are positively glum."
Andrew Pelham shook his head.
" Nothing much I " he said.
" Eubbish ! AVhat is it ? "
Andrew dropped his voice almost to a whisper.
The words came hoarsely. He seemed scarcely master
"The girl's voice tortures me," he declared. "It
doesn't seem possible that there can be two so much
alike. And then Spencer's telegram. What does it
mean ? "
" Be reasonable, old fellow ! " Buncombe answered.
"You knew Phyllis Poynton well. Bo you believe
that she would be content to masquerade under a false
name, invent a father, be received here — : Heaven knows
how — and meet you, an old friend, as a stranger ?
The thing 's absurd, is n't it ? "
" Granted, But what about Spencer's telegram ? "
122 A MAKEE OF HISTORY
" It is an enigma, of course. We can only wait for
his solution. I have wired him the information he
asked for. In the meantime "
" Well, in the meantime ? "
"There is nothing to be gained by framing absurd
hypotheses. I don't mind telling you, Andrew, that
I find Miss Fielding the most delightful girl I ever
met in my life."
"Tell me exactly, George, how she compares with
the photograph you have of Phyllis Poynton."
Buncombe sipped his wine slowly.
"She is very like it," he said, "and yet there are
differences. She is certainly a little thinner and taller.
The features are similar, but the hair is quite differently
arranged. I should say that Miss Fielding is two or
three years older than Phyllis Poynton, and she has
the air of having travelled and been about more."
" A few months of events," Andrew murmured, " might
account for all those differences."
Buncombe laughed as he followed his host*s lead and
" Get that maggot out of your brain, Andrew," he
exclaimed, " as quickly as possible. Will you take my
arm ? Mind the corner."
They found the drawing-room almost deserted. Eun-
ton raised his eyeglass and looked around.
" I bet those women have collared the billiard table,"
he remarked. " Come along, you fellows."
They re-crossed the hall and entered the billiard-
room. Lady Runton was playing with the Lord Lieu-
tenant's wife, the Countess of Appleton. The others
were all sitting about, either on the lounge or in the
winter garden beyond. Miss Fielding was standing on
Miss Fielding and the Baron were still togeth<
A MAKER OF HISTORY 123
the threshold, and Duncombe advanced eagerly towards
her. On the way, however, he was buttonholed by an
acquaintance, and the master of the hounds had some-
thing to say to him afterwards about one of his covers.
When he was free, Miss Fielding had disappeared. He
made his way into the winter garden, only to find her
sitting in a secluded corner with the Baron. She
looked up at his entrance, but made no sign. Dun-
combe reluctantly re-entered the billiard-room, and was
captured by his host for a rubber of bridge.
The rubber was a long one. Duncombe played badly
and lost his money. Declining to cut in again, he re-
turned to the winter garden. Miss Fielding and the
Baron were still together, only they had now pushed
their chairs a little further back, and were appar-
ently engaged in a very confidential conversation.
Duncombe turned on his heel and re-entered the
It was not until the party broke up that he found
a chance of speaking to her. He was sensible at once
of a change in her manner. She would have passed
him with a little nod, but he barred her way.
" You have treated me shockingly," he declared,
with a smile which was a little forced. " You promised
to let me sliow you the winter garden."
■ " Did I ? " she answered. " I am so sorry. I must
have forgotten all about it. The Baron has been
entertaining me delightfully. Good night ! "
He half stood aside.
" I have n't by any chance offended you, have I ? "
he asked in a low tone.
She raised her eyebrows.
" Certainly not ! " she answered. " Excuse me, won't
124 A MAKER OF HISTORY
you ? I want to speak to Lady Eimton before she goes
Buncombe stood on one side and let her pass with a
stiff bow. As he raised his eyes he saw that Mr.
Fielding was standing within a few feet of him, smok-
ing a cigarette. He might almost have overheard their
" Good night, Mr. Fielding," he said, holding out his
hand. " Are you staying down here for long ? "
"For two days, I believe," Mr. Fielding answered.
" My daughter makes our plans."
He spoke very slowly, but without any accent.
Nothing in his appearance, except perhaps the fact that
he wore a black evening tie, accorded with the popular
ideas of the travelling American.
" If you have an hour to spare," Buncombe said, " it
would give me a great deal of pleasure if you and your
daughter would walk down and have a look over my
place. Part of the hall is Elizabethan, and I have some
relics which might interest Miss Fielding."
Mr. Fielding removed the cigarette from his mouth.
" I thank you very much, sir," he said. " We are
Lord Runton's guests, and our stay is so short that we
could scarcely make any arrangements to visit else-
where. Glad to have had the pleasure of meeting you
all the same."
Buncombe sought out his host.
" Runton, old chap," he said, " do me a favor. Bring
that fellow Fielding and his daughter round to my place
before they go."
Lord Runton laughed heartily.
" Is it a case ? " he exclaimed. " And you, our show
bachelor, too ! Never mind my chaff, old chap. She 's
A MAKER or HISTOEY 125
a ripping good-looking girl, and money enough to buy
" I don't mind your chaff," Buncombe answered, " but
will you bring her ? "
Lord Eunton looked thoughtful.
" How the dickens can I ? We are all shooting at the
Duke's to-moiTOw, and I believe they 're off on Saturday.
You 're not in earnest by any chance, are you, George ? "
" Damnably ! " he answered.
Lord Eunton whistled softly.
" Fielding does n't shoot," he remarked, " but they 're
going with us to Beaumanor. Shall I drop him a hint ?
He might stay a day longer — just to make a few in-
quiries about you on the spot, you know."
" Get him to stay a day longer, if you can," Duncombe
answered, " but don't give me away. The old chap 's
none too cordial as it is."
" I must talk to him," Eunton said. " Your Baronetcy
is a thundering sight better than any of these mushroom
peerages. He probably does n't imderstand that sort of
thing. But what about the girl ? Old Von Eothe has
been making the running pretty strong, you know."
"We all have to take our chance in that sort of
thing," Duncombe said quietly. " I am not afraid of
Von Eothe 1 "
" I '11 do what I can for you," Eunton promised.
« Good night ! "
Andrew, who had left an hour or so earlier, was
sitting in the library smoking a pipe when his host
"Not gone to bed yet, then ? " Duncombe remarked.
" Let me make you a whisky and soda, old chap.
You look a bit tired."
126 A MAKEH OF HISTOEY
" Very good of you — I think I will," Andrew an-
swered. " And, George, are you sure that I should not
be putting you out at all if I were to stay — say another
couple of days with you ? "
Duncombe wheeled round and faced his friend. His
reply was not immediate.
" Andrew," he said, " you know very well that I
haven't a pal in the world I'd sooner have here than
you for just as long as you choose to stay, but — forgive
me if I ask you one question. Is it because you want
to watch Miss I'ielding that you have changed your
mind ? "
" That has a good deal to do with it, George," Andrew
said quietly. " If I left without meeting that young
lady again I should be miserable. I want to hear her
speak when she does not know that any one is listening."
Duncombe crossed the room and laid his hand upon
the other's shoulder.
"Andrew, old fellow," he said, "I can't have it. I
can't allow even my best friend to spy upon Miss
Fielding. You see — I've come a bit of a cropper.
Quick work, I suppose, you 'd say. But I 'm there all
" Who wants to spy upon Miss Fielding ? " Andrew
exclaimed hoarsely. " She can be the daughter of a
multi-millionaire or a penniless adventurer for all I care.
All I want is to be sure that she is n't Phyllis Poynton."
" You are not yet convinced ? "
There was a moment's silence. Duncombe walked
to the window and returned.
" Andrew," he said, " does n't what I told you just now
make a difference ? "
A MAKER OF HISTORY 127
" Of course it would," he answered, « but — I 'm fool
enough to feel the same about Phyllis Pojnton."
Duncombe, in the full glow of sensations which seemed
to bim to give a larger and more wonderful outlook on
life, felt his sympathies suddenly awakened. Andrew
Pelham, his old chum, sitting there with his huge,
disfiguring glasses and bowed head, was suielj tie
type of all that was path^ic. He foigot all his small
irritation at the other's ol^tinacj. He lememberod
only their long years of comrade^iip and the tiagedj
which loomed over the life of his diosen friend. Once
more his arm rested upon his shoulder.
" I 'm a selfish brute, Andrew I " he said. "Btay as
long as you please, and get this idea out of your brain.
I 'm trying to get Miss Fielding and her ^h^ down here,
and if I can manage it anyhow 1 11 leave you two alone,
and you shall talk as long as you like. Come, we 11
have a drink together now and a pipe afterwardsL"
He walked across to the sidebca: I —here the glasses
and decanter? — e:e i:: -' 7: tl . : :Le f:-: time
he saw uj* .n ."it ::: i. :i^ i .rlrgi-L^ He gave
a little excki ; :: i i-. i^. tore it open.
Andrew 1: :r
"What:? re? "he asked. "Atel^iam?"
Ban: L^ r ^ ~::: i:= ejes g^ued upon the ob-
1 1^ :::^ : p -: A : : := : ^1' r had <»ept into his
i- r :: - ^irrit^ ::. ir iril:!; :li. of his complezum.
Andrew, si^itless ::. -rb. he was, seemed to feel the
presence in the r l^ : -^ exciting influence. He rose
to his feet and m : .^ across to the sideboaid.
''Is it a teleg: 1^ :ige?" he idiispaied hoarsety.
*• Bead it to me. is ir rrom Speooerl*
128 A MAKER OF HISTORY
Duncombe collected himself with an effort.
"It's nothing," he answered with a little laugh, in
which all the elements of mirth were lacking, " nothing
at all ! A note from Heggs, my head-keeper — about
some poachers. Confound the fellow ! "
Andrew's hand was suddenly upon the sideboard,
travelling furtively across its shining surface. Dun-
combe watched it with a curious sense of fascination.
He felt altogether powerless to interfere. He was simply
wondering how long it would be before those long, power-
ful fingers seized upon what they sought. He might
even then have swept aside the envelope, but he felt
no inclination to do so. The fingers were moving slowly
but surely. Finally, with a little grab, they seized upon
it. Then there was another moment of suspense.
Slowly the hand was withdrawn. Without a second's
warning Duncombe felt himself held in the grip of a
giant. Andrew had him by the throat.
"You have lied to me, George!" he cried. "There
was a telegram ! "
"WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?"
IT seemed to Duncombe that time stood still. An-
drew's face, wholly disfigured by the hideous dark
spectacles, unrecognizable, threatening, was within a few
inches of his own. He felt the other's hot breath upon
his cheek. For a moment there stole through his numbed
senses the fear of more terrible things. And then the
grip which held him relaxed. Andrew stood away
gasping. The crisis was over.
" You lied to me, George. Wliy ? "
Duncombe did not answer. He could not. It was
as though his body had been emptied of all breath.
" You meant to keep the contents of that telegram a
secret from me. Why ? Was I right after all ? Eead
me that telegram, George. Eead it me truthfully."
"The telegram is from Spencer," Duncombe said.
"He is coming here."
" Here ? Is he giving up the search ? Has he failed,
then ? "
" He does not say," Duncombe answered. " He
says simply that he is coming here. He has wired for
a motor to meet him at Lynn. He may be here
A discordant laugh broke from Pelham's lips.
"What about your Miss Fielding, now?" he ex-
claimed. "Why do you suppose that he is leaving
130 A MAKEK OF HISTORY
Paris, and coming here? I was right. I knew that
I was right."
Buncombe stood up. His expanse of shirt-front was
crumpled and battered. His white tie was hanging
down in ribbons.
"Listen, Andrew!" he exclaimed. "I am speaking
of the girl by whose side I sat to-night at dinner, who
calls herself Miss Fielding, who has — in plain words —
denied that she knows anything of Phyllis Poynton. I
want you to understand this. Whatever she may choose
to call herself that shall be her name. I will not have
her questioned or bullied or watched. If Spencer comes
here to do either I have finished with him. I elect my-
self her protector. I will stand between her and all
suspicion of evil things."
" She has found a champion indeed ! " Pelham ex-
claimed fiercely. " With Miss Fielding I have nothing
to do. Yet you had better understand this. If she be
Phyllis Poynton she belongs to me, and not to you.
She was mine before you heard her name. I have
watched her grow up from a child, I taught her to ride
and to shoot and to swim. I have watched her listen-
ing to the wind, bending over the flowers in her garden.
I have walked with her over the moor when the twi-
light fell and the mists rose. We have seen the kin-
dling of the stars, and we have seen the moon grow pale
and the eastern sky ablaze. I have taught her where to
look for the beautiful things of life. She has belonged
to me in all ways, save one. I am a poor, helpless crea-
ture now, George, but, by the gods, I will let no one rob
me of my one holy compensation. She is the girl I love ;
the better part of myself."
"Phyllis Poynton may be all these things to you,"
A MAKEK OF niSTORY 131
Buncombe answered. "I do not know her. I do not
recognize her. Find her, if you can ; make of her what
you wilL All that I ask of you is that you divest your
mind of these senseless suspicions. Seek Phyllis Poyn-
ton where you will, but leave alone the woman whom I
love. I will not have her troubled or annoyed by need-
less importunities. She says she is Miss Fielding.
Then she is Miss Fielding. It is enough for me. It
must be enough for you!"
" And what about Spencer ? " Pelham asked grimly.
"Spencer in this matter is my servant," Buncombe
answered. "If his search for Phyllis Poynton entails
his annoying Miss Fielding, then he is dismissed. I
will have no more to do with the business."
"I have heard of this man Spencer," Andrew an-
swered. " If you think that he is the sort of creature
whom you can order about like that, I fancy that you
are mistaken. You may try to call him off, if you like,
but you won't succeed. He is searching for Phyllis
Poynton, and he is coming here. I believe that he wiU
The windows were wide open, and both men suddenly
turned round. There was no mistaking the sound which
came to them from the road outside — the regular throb
and beat of a perfectly balanced engine. Then they
heard a man's voice, cool and precise.
"Here you are, then, and a sovereign for yourself.
A capital little car this. Good night!"
The little iron gate opened and closed. A tall man
in a loose travelling-coat, and carrying a small bag,
entered. He saw Bimcombe standing at the open
window, and waved his hand. As he approached his
boyish face lit up into a smile.
132 A MAKEK OF HISTORY
" What luck to find you up I " he exclaimed. " You
got my telegram ? "
" An hour ago," Buncombe answered. " This is my
friend, Mr. Andrew Pelham. What will you have ? "
" Whisky and soda, and a biscuit, please," was the
prompt reply. " Have n't upset you, I hope, coming
down from the clouds in this fashion?"
" Not in the least," Buncombe answered. " You Ve
made us very curious, though."
" Bear me ! " Spencer exclaimed, " what a pity ! I came
here to ask questions, not to answer them. You 've set
me a regular poser. Buncombe. By Jove ! that 's good
" Help yourself," Buncombe answered. " We won't
bother you to-night. I '11 show you a room as soon as
you 've had a cigarette. Fair crossing ? "
" No idea," Spencer answered. " I slept all the way.
Jolly place you 've got here, Buncombe. Nice country,
" There is just one question," Pelham began.
" Sha'n't answer it — to-night," Spencer interrupted
firmly. " I 'm dead sleepy, and I could n't guarantee
to tell the truth. And when to-morrow comes — I '11
be frank with you — I 've very little to say. Pardon
me, but where does Mr. Pelham come in in this
matter ? "
"Pelham," Buncombe said slowly, "was a neighbor
of Miss Poynton's, in Bevonshire. It was through him
that I first went to Paris to search for her."
" Glad to meet him, then," he remarked. " There
are a few questions I shall be glad to ask him in the
A MAKER OF HISTORY 133
" There is one," Pelham said, " which you must answer
Spencer raised his eyebrows. He was standing with
his back to them now, helping himself to sandwiches
from a dish upon the sideboard.
" By Jove, your cook does understand these things,"
he remarked, with his mouth full. " No idea I was so
hungry. What was that, Mr. Pelham ? A question
which must be answered now ? "
" Yes. You telegraphed to Buncombe to know the
names of Lord Runton's guests, and now you have come
here yourself. Why ? "
Spencer helped himself to another sandwich.
" I came here," he said, " because I did n't seem to be
getting on in Paris. It struck me that the clue to Miss
Poynton's disappearance might after all be on this side
of the Channel."
Pelham guided himself by the table to the sideboard.
He stood close to Spencer.
" Mr. Spencer," he said, " I am almost blind, and I
cannot see your face, but I want you to teU me the
truth. I expect it from you."
" My dear fellow," Spencer answered. " I 'm awfully
soTTy for you, of course, but I really don't see why I
should answer your questions at all, truthfully or un-
truthfully. I have been making a few inquiries for my
friend Buncombe. At present I regret to say that I
have been unsuccessful. In their present crude state I
should prefer keeping my discoveries, such as they are,
Pelham struck the sideboard with his clenched fist so
that all the glasses rattled upon the tray. His face was
dark with passion.
134 A MAKER OF HISTOEY
" I will not be ignored in this matter," he declared.
" Phyllis Poynton and her brother are nothing to Dun-
combe. He acted only for me. He cannot deny it. Ask
him for yourself."
" I do not need to ask him," Spencer answered. " I
am perfectly well aware of the circumstances of the
case. All the same, I go about my business my own
way. I am not ready to answer questions from you or
" You shall tell me this at least," Pelham declared.
"You shall tell me why you telegraphed here for the
names of Lord Eunton's house party."
*' Simplest thing in the world," Spencer answered, re-
linquishing his attack upon the sandwiches, and lighting
a cigarette. " I did it to oblige a friend who writes
society notes for the ' New York Herald.' "
Duncombe gave vent to a little exclamation of tri-
umph. Pelham for the moment was speechless.
" Awfully sorry if I misled you in any way," Spencer
continued. " I never imagined your connecting my re-
quest with the disappearance of Phyllis Poynton. Why
should I ? "
" The fact is," Duncombe interposed, " there is a
girl staying at Eunton Place whose voice Pelham
declares is exactly like Phyllis Poynton's, and whose
general appearance, I will admit, is somewhat similar
to the photograph I showed you. It is a coincidence,
of course, but beyond that it is absurd to go. This
young lady is a Miss Fielding. She is there with her
father, and they are invited guests, with all the proper
" I suppose it is because I am not a lady's man," he
A MAKER OF HISTORY 135
said carelessly, " but I must admit that all girls' voices
sound pretty much alike to me."
" I wish to Heaven that I could see your face ! " Pel-
ham exclaimed, " I should know then whether you
were telling me the truth."
" The weak point about my temporary profession is,"
Spencer remarked thoughtfully, "that it enables even
strangers to insult one with impunity."
" If I have misjudged you," Pelham said with some
dignity, " I am sorry. I am to understand, then, that
you have no news whatever to give us about the disap-
pearance of Phyllis Poynton and her brother ? "
" Not a scrap ! " Spencer answered.
" I will wish you both good night, then," Pelham said.
" No, don't trouble, George. I can find my way quite
well by myself."
He disappeared, and Buncombe drew a little sigh of
" Excitable person, your friend ! " Spencer remarked.
" Very ! I am frightened to death that he will make
an ass of himself before Miss Fielding. If he hears her
speak he loses his head."
" Nice girl ? " Spencer asked.
" Yes — very ! "
" WTiat sort of a fellow 's the father ?"
" Very quiet. I 've scarcely spoken to him. They 're
Americans. Friends of Lord Runton's brother, out in
New York. Ever heard of them ? "
" Yes. A few times."
" You seem interested."
" I am — very."
Buncombe turned suddenly white.
136 A MAKEE OF HISTOEY
" What do you mean ? " he asked.
Spencer held his cigarette between his fingers and
looked at it thoughtfully.
"Mr. Fielding, of New York," he said, "sailed for
America from Havre last Saturday. His daughter has
gone to Eussia with a party of friends."
Duncombe sprang from his seat. His cigarette
slipped from his fingers and fell unheeded upon the
" Then who — who are these people ? " he exclaimed.
Spencer shrugged his shoulders.
"I thought it worth while," he said, "to come over
and find out."
A HILLSIDE ENCOUNTER
A FEW minutes before ten the following morning a
moimted messenger from Eunton Place brought
the following note for Buncombe : —
" EuxTON Place, Friday Morniiig.
■"My dear Buncombe, — Fielding has cried off the
shoot to-day. Says he has a motor coming over for him
to try from Norwich, and his dutiful daughter remains
with him. Thought I would let you know in case you
cared to come and look them up. Best I could do for
" Ever yours sincerely,
Buncombe had breakfasted alone. Pelham had asked
for something to be sent up for him, and Spencer, after
a cup of coffee in his room, had gone out. Buncombe
did not hesitate for a moment. He started at once for
A marvellous change had taken place in the weather
since the previous day. The calm splendor of the early
autumn seemed to have vanished. A strong north wind
was blowing, and the sky was everywhere gray and
threatening. The fields of uncut corn were bent like
the waves of the sea, and the yellow leaves came down
from the trees in showers. Piled up masses of black
138 A MAKER OF HISTOEY
clouds were driven across the sky. Scanty drops of rain
kept falling, an earnest of what was to come as soon as
the wind should fail. Buncombe had almost to fight
his way along until, through a private gate, he entered
Kunton Park. The house lay down in the valley about
a mile away. To reach it one had to cross a ridge of
hills covered with furze bushes and tumbled fragments
of ancient rock.
Half-way up the first ascent he paused. A figure had
struggled into sight from the opposite side — the figure
of a girl. Her skirts and cloak were being blown wildly
about her. She wore a flat Tam-o'-Shanter hat, from
under the confines of which her hair was defying the
restraint of hatpins and elastic. She stood there sway-
ing a little from the violence of the wind, slim and ele-
gant, notwithstanding a certain intensity of gaze and
bearing. Buncombe felt his heart give a quick jump as
he recognized her. Then he started up the hill as fast
as he could go.
She stood perfectly still, watching him clamber up
to her side. Her face showed no sign of pleasure
or annoyance at his coming. He felt at once that it
was not he alone who had realized the coming of the
No words of conventional greeting passed between
them as he clambered breathless to her side. The wind
had brought no color into her cheeks. There were
rims under her eyes. She had the appearance of one
who had come into touch with fearsome things.
"What do you want with me?" she asked. "Why
are you here?"
" To be with you," he answered. " You know why."
She laughed mirthlessly.
A MAKER OF HISTORY 139
" Better go back," she exclaimed. " I am no fit com-
panion for any one to-day. I came out to be alone."
A gust of wind came tearing up the hillside. They
both struggled for breath.
" I came," he said, " to find you. I was going to the
house. Something has happened which you ought to
She looked back towards the long white front of the
house, and there was terror in her eyes.
" Something is happening there," she muttered, " and
I am afraid."
He took her gloveless hand. It was as cold as ice.
She did not resist his touch, but her fingers lay passively
" Let me be your friend," he pleaded. " Never mind
what has happened, or what is going to happen. You
are in trouble. Let me share it with you."
" You cannot," she answered. " You, nor any one else
in the world. Let me go 1 You don't understand ! "
" I understand more than you think ! " he answered.
She turned her startled eyes upon him.
" What do you mean ? " she cried.
" I mean that the man whom we employed to trace the
whereabouts of Phyllis Poynton and her brother arrived
from Paris last night," he answered. " He wanted a list
of Lord Runton's house party. Can you guess why ? "
" Go on ! "
"Mr. Fielding, of New York, left Havre on Satur-
Her voice was a staccato note of agony. Between the
fingers which were pressed to her face he could see the
slow, painful flushing of her cheeks.
140 A MAKEE OF HISTOEY
" Why did you come to tell me this ? " she asked in a
" You know," he answered.
" Did you guess last night that we were impostors ? "
" Certainly not," he answered. " Andrew was tor-
tured with doubts about you. He believed that you
were Phyllis Poynton 1 "
" I am I " she whispered. " I was afraid of him all the
evening. He must have known."
It seemed to Duncombe that the rocks and gorse
bushes were spinning round and the ground was sway-
ing under his feet. The wind, which had kept them
both half breathless, seemed full of mocking voices.
She was an impostor. These were her own words. She
was in danger of detection, perhaps of other things. At
that very moment Spencer might have gained an entrance
into Kunton Place. He felt uncertain of himself, and
all the time her eyes watched him jealously.
" Why did you come here ? " she cried. " Why do you
look at me like that ? It is no concern of yours who I
am. Why do you interfere ? "
" Everything that concerns you concerns me," he an-
swered. " I don't care who you are, or who you say you
are. I don't even ask you for any sort of explanation.
I came to warn you about Spencer. For the rest, here
am I your friend whatever happens. You are terrified !
Don't go back to the house. Give me the right to take
care of you. I '11 do it I "
Then for the first time a really human expression lit
up her face. The sick fear passed away. Her features
were suddenly softer. The light in her eyes was a
A MAKER OF IIISTOEY 141
" You are kind," she murmured, " kinder than I ever
dreamed any one could be who — knew. Will you be
kinder still ? "
" Try me ! " he begged.
" Then go away. Forget who I am. Forget who I
am not. Shut yourself up in your study for twenty-four
hours, and come out without any memories at all. Oh,
do this for me — do this ! " she begged, with a sudden
break in her voice.
She leaned a little towards him. A long wisp of her
hair blew in his face. A moment of madness came to
him with the gust of wind which blew her almost into
his arms. For one exquisite moment he held her. The
violets at her bosom were crushed against his coat.
Then she tore herself away.
" You are mad," she cried. " It is my fault. Oh, let
me go 1 "
" Never," he answered, passionately clasping at her
hand. " Call yourself by what name you will, I love
you. If you are in trouble, let me help. Let me go
back to the house with you, and we will face it together,
whatever it may be. Come ! "
She wrung her hands. The joy had all gone from
" Oh, what have I done ? " she moaned. " Don't you
understand that I am an impostor? The man down
there is not my father. I — oh, let me go ! "
She wrenched herself free. She stood away from
him, her skirt gathered up into her hand, prepared for
"If you would really do me a kindness," she cried,
"get Mr. Spencer to stop his search for me. Tell him
to forget that such a person ever existed. And you, too !
142 A MAKER OF HISTOEY
You must do the same. What I have done, I have done
of my own free will. I am my own mistress. I will
not be interfered with. Listen ! "
She turned a white, intent face towards the house.
Duncombe could hear nothing for the roaring of the
wind, but the girl's face was once more convulsed with
" What was that ? " she cried.
" I heard nothing," he answered. " What can one hear ?
The wind is strong to drown even our voices."
" And those ? " she cried again, pointing with out-
stretched finger to two rapidly moving black specks
coming towards them along the winding road which
led from the highway to Eunton Place.
Duncombe watched them for a moment.
" They are the Eunton shooting brakes," he declared.
" I expect Lord Eunton and the rest of them are coming
" Coming back ! " she repeated, with a little gasp.
" But they were going to shoot all day and dine there.
They are not expected home till past midnight."
" I expect the shoot is off," Duncombe remarked.
" One could n't possibly hit anything a day like this.
I wonder they ever started."
Her face was white enough before, but it was deathly
now. Her lips parted, but only a little moan came from
them. He heard the rush of her skirts, and saw her
spring forward. He was left alone upon the hilltop.
MR. FIELDING IN A NEW r6lE
RUNTON was apparently enjoying the relaxation
of having got rid of practically the whole of its
guests for the day. The women servants were going
about their duties faithfully enough, but with a marked
absence of any superfluous energy. Mr. Harrison, the
butler, was enjoying a quiet pipe in his room and a
leisurely perusal of the morning paper. Mrs. Ellis, the
much-respected housekeeper, was also in her room com-
fortably ensconced in an easy-chair, and studying a new
volume of collected menus which a friend had sent
her from Paris. The servants were not exactly neglect-
ing their work, but every one was appreciating a certain
sense of peace which the emptying of the house from
a crowd of more or less exacting guests had brought
In one room only things were different, and neither
Mrs. Ellis nor Mr. Harrison, nor any of the household,
knew anything about that. It was the principal guest-
chamber on the first floor — a large and handsomely
furnished apartment. Barely an hour ago it had been
left in spotless order by a couple of painstaking servants.
Just now it had another aspect.
In the middle of the room a man lay stretched upon
the floor, face downwards. The blood was slowly
144 A MAKER OF HISTORY
trickling from a wound in the side of the head down on
to the carpet. With nearly every breath he drew he
groaned. Overturned chairs and tables showed that
he had taken part in no ordinary struggle. The condi-
tion of the other man also testified this.
The other man was Mr. Fielding. He was down on
his knees upon the floor, rapidly going through the con-
tents of a dark mahogany box, which was apparently
full of papers. Scattered over the carpet by his side
were various strange-looking tools, by means of which
he had forced the lock. Mr. Fielding was not at all
his usual self. His face was absolutely colorless, and
every few moments his hand went up to his shoulder-
blade and a shiver went through his whole frame.
There was a faint odor of gunpowder in the room, and
somewhere near the feet of the prostrate man lay a
small shining revolver. Nevertheless, Mr. Fielding
persevered in his task.
Suddenly there came an interruption. Footsteps out-
side in the corridor had paused. There was a sharp
tapping at the door. The prostrate man groaned louder
than ever, and half turned over, proving that he was not
wholly unconscious. Mr. Fielding closed the box and
staggered to his feet.
He stood for a moment staring wildly at the door.
Who could it be? He had asked, as a special favor,
that he might not be disturbed, and Mr. Fielding knew
how to ask favors of servants. Interruption now
meant disaster, absolute and unqualified — the end,
perhaps, of a career in which he had achieved some
success. Big drops of perspiration stood out upon his
forehead, drawn there by the pain and this new fear.
Slowly, and on tiptoe, he drew near the door.
A MAKER OF HISTORY 145
" Who is that ? " he asked with wonderful calmness.
" It is I ! Let me in," came the swift answer, and
Mr. Fielding drew a little breath of relief. Neverthe-
less he was angry. He opened the door and drew the
" You fool ! " he exclaimed. " I sent you out of the
way on purpose. Why have you come back ? "
She opened her lips, but no words came. The man
on the floor groaned again. She swayed upon her feet.
It was all so horrible.
" Speak, can't you 1 " he muttered between his teeth.
" Things have gone badly here. I 'm wounded, and I 'm
afraid — I 've hurt that chap — pretty badly."
"I was in the park,'' she faltered, "and saw them.
They are all coming back."
" Coming back ? "
" They are almost here. Sir George Buncombe told
me that they could not shoot because of the wind."
" The car ? "
" Downstairs — waiting."
He had forgotten his hurt. He caught up his hat and
a coat, and pushed her out of the room. He locked the
door, and thrust the key into his pocket. As they
walked down the corridor he lit a cigarette.
A footman met them in the hall.
" A gentleman has called to see you, sir — a Mr.
Spencer," he announced. " I have shown him into the
Mr. Fielding appeared to hesitate for a moment.
" It is the man who wants to sell us the car," he ex-
claimed, turning towards the girl, " but I have n't even
seen it yet. Better tell him to wait for a quarter of an
hour," he added, turning towards the footman. " I '11
146 A MAKEE OF HISTOEY
just drive down to the lodge gates and back. Come
She followed him to the front door. A man was
seated at the wheel of the motor car, and tm-ned his
head quickly as they approached. Mr. Fielding nodded
pleasantly, though his face was white with excruciating
" Kept you waiting, I 'm afraid," he said. " Can you
drive at all in a wind like this ? "
" Jump in, sir, and see," the man answered. " Is the
young lady coming ? "
Mr. Fielding nodded, and stepped into the front seat.
The girl was already in the tonneau. The man slipped
in his clutch, and they glided round the broad, circular
sweep in front of the entrance. Just as they started the
wagonette drew up.
" We sha'n't be more than a few minutes," Mr. Field-
ing cried out, waving his hand. " Sorry you 've lost your
" Hold on a minute, and I '11 come with you," Eunton
called out. " That car looks like going."
But Mr. Fielding did not hear.
Buncombe, who had returned from the park by the
fields, was crossing the road to enter his own gates,
when a black speck far away on the top of the hill
attracted his attention. He stood still gazing at it, and
was instantly aware that it was approaching him at an
almost incredible speed. It gathered shape swiftly, and
he watched it with a fascination which kept him rooted
to the spot. Above the wind he could hear the throb-
bing of its engines. He saw it round a slight curve in
the road, with two wheels in the air, and a skid which
A MAKER OF HISTOKY 147
seemed for a moment as though it must mean destnic-
tion. Mud and small stones flew up around it. The
driver was crouching forward over the wheel, tense and
motionless. Duncombe moved to the side of the road to
let it pass, with a little exclamation of anger.
Then it came more clearly into sight, and he forgot
his anger in his amazement. The seat next the driver
was occupied by a man leaning far back, whose face was
like the face of the dead. Behind was a solitary pas-
senger. She was leaning over, as though trying to speak
to her companion. Her hair streamed wild in the wind,
and on her face was a look of blank and fearful terror.
Duncombe half moved forward. She saw him, and
touched the driver's arm. His hand seemed to fly to the
side of the car, and his right foot was jammed down.
"With grinding of brakes and the screaming of locked
wheels, the car was brought to a standstill within a few
feet of him. He sprang eagerly forward. She was
already upon her feet in the road.
" Sir George," she said, " your warning, as you see, was
barely in time. We are adventurer and adventm^ess —
detected. I suppose you are a magistrate. Don't you
think that you ought to detain us ? "
" A\Tiat can I do to help you ? " he asked simply.
She looked at him eagerly. There were mud spots
all up her gown, even upon her face. Her hair was
wildly disordered. She carried her hat in her hand.
" You mean it ?" she cried.
" You know that I do!"
She turned and looked up the road along which they
had come. There was no soul in sight. She looked
even up at the long line of windows which frowned
down upon them from the back of the HalL They,
148 A MAKER OF HISTORY
too, were empty. She thrust a long envelope suddenly
into his hand.
" Guard this for me," she whispered. " Don't let any
one know that you have it. Don't speak of it to any
one. Keep it until I can send for it."
He thrust it into his inner pocket and buttoned his
" It is quite safe," he said simply.
Her eyes flashed her gratitude upon him. For the
first time he saw something in her face — heard it in
her tone, which made his heart beat. After all she was
" You are very good to me," she murmured. " Be-
lieve me, I am not quite as bad as I seem. Good-bye."
He turned with her towards the car, and she gave a
low cry. He too started. The car was a mile away,
tearing up a hill, and almost out of sight. In the lane
behind they could hear the sound of galloping horses.
He caught her by the wrist, dragged her through the
gate, and behiud a great shrub on the lawn.
" Stay there ! " he exclaimed hoarsely. " Don't move.
I will come back."
Half a dozen horsemen were coming along the lane
at steeplechase pace. Lord Kunton, on his wonderful
black horse, which no man before had ever seen him
gallop save across the softest of country, pulled up out-
side the gate.
" Seen a motor go by, Duncombe ? " he called out.
"Rather!" he answered. "Fielding and Miss Field-
ing in it. Going like Hell ! "
Runton waved his companions on, and leaned down
A MAKEE OF HISTOEY 149
"Beastly unpleasant thing happened, Buncombe,"
he said. " Fielding and his daughter have bolted.
Fieldmg seems to have half killed a messenger who
came down from London to see Von Rothe, and stolen
some papers. Fact of the matter is he's not Fielding
at all — and as for the girl ! Lord knows who she is.
Sorry for you. Buncombe. Hope you weren't very
He gathered up his reins.
" We Ve sent telegrams everywhere," he said, " but
the beast has cut the telephone, and Yon Rothe blas-
phemes if we talk about the police. It's a queer
He rode off. Buncombe returned where the girl was
standing. She was clutching at the branches of the
shrub as though prostrate with fear, but at his return
she straightened herself. How much had she heard he
" Bon't move ! " he said.
" Can any one see me ? " she asked.
" Not from the road."
" From the house ? "
"They could," he admitted, "but it is the servants*
dinner hour. Bon't you notice how quiet the house is ?"
She was very white. She seemed to find some diffi-
culty in speaking. There was fear in her eyes.
" It would not be safe for you to leave here at
present," he said. " I am going to take you into a little
room leading out of my study. No one ever goes in it.
You will be safe there for a time."
" If I could sit down — for a little while."
150 A MAKER OF HISTOEY
He took her arm, and led her unresistingly towards
the house. The library window was closed, but he
opened it easily, and helped her through. At the
further end of the room was an inner door, which he
"This is a room which no one except myself ever
enters," he said. "I used to do a little painting here
sometimes. Sit down, please, in that easy-chair. I am
going to get you a glass of wine."
They heard the library door suddenly opened. A
voice, shaking with passion, called out his name.
" Buncombe, are you here ? Duncombe 1 "
There was a dead silence. They could hear him
moving about the room.
" Hiding, are you ? Brute ! Come out, or 1 11 — by
heavens, I '11 shoot you if you don't tell me the truth.
I heard her voice in the lane. 1 '11 swear to it."
Duncombe glanced quickly towards his companion.
She lay back in the chair in a dead faint.
A WOMAN'S CRY
THE three men were sitting at a small round dining-
table, from which everything except the dessert
had been removed. Duncombe filled his own glass
and passed around a decanter of port. Pelham and
Spencer both helped themselves almost mechanically.
A cloud of restraint had hung over the little part}^
Duncombe raised his glass and half emptied its con-
tents. Then he set it down and leaned back in his
"Well," he said, "I am ready for the inquisition.
Go on, Andrew."
Pelham fingered his own glass nervously. He seemed
to find his task no easy one.
" George," he said, " we are old friends. I want you
to remember it. I want you also to remember that I
am in a hideous state of worry and nerves " — he passed
his hand over his forehead just above his eyes as though
they were hurting him. " I am not behaving to you as
a guest should to his host. I admit it freely. I have
lost my temper more than once during the last twenty-
four hours. I am sorry ! Forgive me if you can,
George ! "
" Willingly, Andrew," Duncombe answered. " I shall
think no more about it."
152 A MAKER OF HISTORY
" At the same time," Pelliam continued, " there is
another point to be considered. Have you been quite
fair to me, George ? Remember that Phyllis Poynton
is the one person whose existence reconciles me to life.
You had never even heard her name before I sent for
you. You went abroad, like the good fellow you are,
to find her for me. You assure me that you have dis-
covered — nothing. Let me put you upon your honor,
George. Is this absolutely true ? "
" I have discovered nothing about Phyllis Poynton,"
Buncombe declared quietly.
" About Miss Fielding then ? "
" Phyllis Poynton and Miss Fielding are two very
different persons," Buncombe declared.
" That may be so," Pelham said, " although I find it
hard to believe that God ever gave to two women voices
so exactly similar. Yet if you are assured that this is
so, why not be altogether frank with me ? "
" What have you to complain of ? " Buncombe
" Something has happened at Runton Place, in which
Mr. Fielding and his daughter are concerned," Pelham
continued. " I have heard all manner of strange rumors.
This afternoon I distinctly heard the girl's voice in the
lane outside. She was crying out as though in fear. A
few minutes later I heard you speaking to some one in
the library. Yet when I entered the room you would
not answer me."
"Supposing I grant everything that you say, An-
drew," Buncombe answered. " Supposing I admit that
strange things have happened with regard to Mr. Field-
ing and his daughter which have resulted in their
leaving Runton Place — even that she was there in
A MAKER OF HISTORY 153
the lane this afternoon — how does all this concern
you ? "
" Because," Pelham declared, striking the table with
his fist, " I am not satisfied that the girl who has been
staying at Runton Place, and calling herself Miss
Fielding, is not in reality Phyllis Poynton."
Buncombe lit a cigarette, and passed the box round.
"Do you know what they are saying to-night of Mr.
Fielding and his daughter ? " he asked quietly.
" That the one is a robber, and the other an adven-
turess," Buncombe answered. " This much is certainly
true. They have both left Runton Place at a moment's
notice, and without taking leave of their host and
hostess. Remember, I never knew Phyllis Poynton.
You did! Ask yourself whether she is the sort of
young person to obtain hospitality under false pretences,
and then abuse it — to associate herself in a fraud with a
" The idea," Pelham said quietly, " is absurd."
"While we are on the subject," Spencer remarked,
drawing the cigarettes towards him, " may I ask you a
few questions, Mr. Pelham ? For instance, had Miss
Poynton any relations in France?"
" Not to my knowledge," Pelham answered. " I have
known both her and her brother for a great many years,
and I never heard either of them mention any."
" Why did she go to Paris, then ? "
" To meet her brother."
" And why did he go abroad ? "
" It was a whim, I think. Just a desire to see a few
foreign countries before he settled down to live the life
of a countr}^ gentleman."
154 A MAKER OF IIISTOEY
" You believe that he had no other reason ? "
" I think I may go so far as to say that I am sure of
it," Pelham answered.
" One more question," Spencer added, inten^ening.
But the question remained unasked. The butler had
opened the dining-room door and was announcing Lord
Buncombe rose to his feet in surprise. For the
moment a sudden fear drew the color from his
He looked apprehensively towards his unexpected
visitor. Lord Eunton, however, showed no signs of any
great discomposure. He was wearing his ordinary din-
ner clothes, and in reply to Buncombe's first question
assured him that he had dined.
" I will try a glass of your port, if I may, George," he
declared. " Thanks ! "
The butler had wheeled a chair up to the table for
him, and left the room. Lord Eunton filled his glass
and sent the decanter round. Then he turned towards
Spencer, to whom he had just been introduced.
" Mr. Spencer," he said, " my visit to-night is mainly
to you. I dare say you are aware that a somewhat un-
pleasant thing has happened at my house. My people
tell me that you called there this morning and inquired
for Mr. Fielding."
"Quite true," he answered. "I called, but did not
see him. He appears to have left somewhat hurriedly
while I was waiting."
" You did not even catch a glimpse of him ? "
" You know Mr. Fielding by sight, I presume ? "
A MAKER OF HISTORY 155
" I have seen him in Paris once or twice," Spencer
" You will not think me impertinent for asking you
these questions, I am sure," Lord Runton continued
apologetically, " but could you describe Mr. Fielding to
"Certainly," Spencer answered. "He was tall and
thin, wears glasses, was clean-shaven, bald, and limped a
Lord Runton nodded.
" Thank you," he said. " I presume that your visit
this morning was one of coiu-tesy. You are acquainted
with Mr. Fielding ? "
" I have not that pleasure," Spencer answered. " I am
afraid I must confess that my visit was purely one of
" Curiosity ! " Lord Runton repeated.
"Exactly. Do you mind passing those excellent
cigarettes of yours. Buncombe ? "
Lord Runton hesitated for a moment. He was con-
scious of a certain restraint in Spencer's answers.
Suddenly he turned towards him.
" Mr. Spencer," he said, " may I ask if you are Mr.
Jarvis Spencer, of the 'Daily Messenger' — the Mr.
Spencer who was mentioned in connection with the
investigations into the Lawson estates ? "
" Yes," he said, " I am that person."
" Then," Lord Runton continued, " I want to tell you
exactly what has happened to-day in my house, and to
ask yom- advice. May I ? "
" If our host has no objection," Spencer answered,
glancing towards Pelham.
156 A MAKEK OF HISTOEY
" None whatever," Duncombe answered, also glancing
There was a moment's silence. Pelham raised his
" If Lord Eunton desires it, I will withdraw," he said
slowly. "At the same time I must confess that I, too,
am interested in this matter. If Lord Eunton has no
objection to my presence I should like to remain. My
discretion goes without saying."
Duncombe moved uneasily in his chair. His eyes
sought Spencer's for guidance, but found his head
averted. Lord Eunton raised his eyebrows slightly
at what he considered a somewhat vulgar curiosity,
but his reply was prompt.
"You are a friend of Buncombe's, Mr. Pelham," he
said, " and that is enough. I have to ask not only you,
but all three of you, to consider what I am going to tell
you as absolutely confidential."
They all signified their assent. Lord Eunton con-
tinued : —
" Mr. and Miss Fielding came to me with letters from
my brother, and with many convincing proofs of their
identity. We none of us had the slightest suspicion
concerning them. Their behavior was exactly what it
should have been. Nothing about them excited remark
in any way, except the unusual number of telegrams and
telephone messages which Mr. Fielding was always re-
ceiving. That, however, was quite in accord with our
ideas of an American business man, and did n't seem to
us in the least remarkable."
"The telegrams were delivered through a neighbor-
ing office ? " Spencer asked quietly.
" Yes," Lord Eunton answered, " but they were all in
A MAKER OF HISTORY 157
code. I happen to know that because the postmaster
brought the first one up himself, and explained that he
was afraid that he must have made some mistake as the
message was incomprehensible. Fielding only laughed,
and gave the man a sovereign. The message was abso-
lutely correct, he declared. He told me afterwards that
whenever he was speculating he always coded his mes-
sages, and it seemed perfectly reasonable."
" Just so ! " he murmured.
" This morning," Lord Runton continued, " Mr. Field-
ing rather upset our plans. We were all to have spent
the day at the Duke's, and dined there. There was a
big shoot for the men, as you know. At breakfast-time,
however, Mr. Fielding announced that he had a man
coming over with a motor car from Norwich for them to
try, and begged to be excused. So we had to go without
" Von Rothe was staying with me, as you know, and
just before we started he had a telegram that a mes-
senger from the Embassy was on his way down. He
hesitated for some time as to whether he ought not to
stay at home so as to be here when he arrived, but we
persuaded him to come with us, and promised to send
him back after luncheon. When we got to Chestow,
however, the wind had become a gale, and it was impos-
sible to shoot decently. Yon Rothe was a little uneasy
all the time, I could see, so he and I and a few of the
others returned here, and the rest went up to Chestow.
Just as we arrived Fielding passed us in a great motor
car with his daughter behind. When we got to the
house Von Rothe inquired for the messenger. He was
told that he was in Mr. Fielding's sitting-room, but when
158 A MAKEE OF HISTOEY
we got there we found the door locked, and through the
key-hole we could hear a man groaning. We broke the
door in and found Von Rothe's messenger half uncon-
scious, and a rifled despatch box upon the floor. He has
given us no coherent account of what has happened yet,
but it is quite certain that he was attacked and robbed
by Mr. Fielding."
" What was stolen ? " Spencer asked. " Money ? "
" No, a letter," Lord Run'ton answered. " Von Eothe
says very little, but I never saw a man so broken up.
He has left for London to-night."
" The matter is in the hands of the police, of course ? "
Lord Eunton shook his head.
" Von Eothe took me into his room and locked the
door a few minutes after we had discovered what had
happened. He implored me to keep the whole affair
from the Press and from publicity in any form. His
whole career was at stake, he said, and very much
more than his career. All that we could do was to
follow Mr. Fielding and drag him back by force if we
could. Even then he had little hope of recovering the
letter. We did our best, but, of course, we had no
chance. Mr. Fielding and his daughter simply drove
off. Von Eothe is dealing with the affair in his own
"It is a most extraordinary story," Spencer said
Lord Eunton turned towards him.
"I have treated you with confidence, Mr. Spencer,"
he said. " Will you tell me now why you called at my
house to see Mr. Fielding to-day ? "
Spencer hesitated, but only for a moment.
A MAKEE OF HISTOEY 159
" Certainly," he said. " I came because I knew that
Mr. Fielding was half-way to America, and his daughter
in Kussia. Some friends of mine were curious to know
who your guests could be."
Pelham raised his head.
" You lied to me tlien ! " he exclaimed.
"I had as much right to lie to you," Spencer an-
swered calmly, "as you had to ask me questions. I
He stopped short in the middle of his sentence. The
faces of the three men were a study in varying expres-
sions. From some other part of the house there came
to them the sound of a woman's sudden cry of terror —
the cry of a woman who had awakened suddenly to look
into the face of death. Buncombe's uplifted glass fell
with a crash upon the table. The red wine trickled
across the table-cloth.
LORD RUNTON IS SUSPICIOUS
DUNCOMBE was out of the room in a very few
seconds. The others hesitated for a moment
whether to follow him or not. Spencer was the first to
rise to his feet and moved towards the door. Lord
Eunton and Pelham followed a moment or two later.
Outside in the hall the house was perfectly silent.
Buncombe reached the library door just in time to
find himself confronted by half a dozen of the men
and women servants coming from the back of the
house. With his hand upon the door-knob he waved
"Be so good, Mrs. Harrison," he said to the house-
keeper, " as to keep better order in the servants' hall.
We CQuld hear some girls calling or laughing in the
"Indeed, sir," Mrs. Harrison answered with some
dignity, " the noise, whatever it was, did not come from
the servants' quarters. We fancied that it came from
" Quite impossible," Duncombe answered coolly. " If
I require any one I will ring."
He passed through the door and locked it on the
inside. In half a dozen hasty strides he^ was across
the room and inside the smaller apartment where he
had left the girl. With a little gasp of relief he realized
that she was there stilL She was pale, and a spot of
A MAKER OF HISTORY 161
color was blazing in her cheeks. Her hair and dress
were a Httle disordered. With trembling fingers she
was fastening a little brooch into her blouse as he
entered. A rush of night air struck him from a wide-
" What has happened ? " he called out.
"I have been terrified," she answered. "I am
sorry I called out. I could not help it. A man came
here — through the window. He talked so fast that I
could scarcely hear what he said, but he wanted that
paper. I tried to make him understand that I had
not got it, but he did not believe me — and he was
Buncombe shut down the window, swearing softly
" I cannot stay with you," he said, " just now. The
whole house is alarmed at your cry. Listen ! "
There was a loud knocking at the library door.
Duncombe turned hastily away.
" I must let them in," he said. " I will come back
She pointed to the window.
"He is coming back," she said, "at twelve
"Do you wish me to give up the paper?" he
" Very well. I will be with you when he comes —
before then. I must get rid of these men first."
He closed the door softly, and drew the curtain which
concealed it. Then he opened the library window, and
a moment afterwards the door.
"Come in, you fellows," he said. "I scarcely
162 A MAKEH OF HISTOEY
know what I was doing when I locked the door. 1
fancy one of the housemaids has been seeing ghosts
in the garden. I saw something white in amongst the
shrubs, but I could find nothing. Come on out with
Spencer followed with a perfectly grave face. Lord
Eunton looked puzzled. Pelham did not attempt to
leave the library. Spencer drew his host a little on
" What a rotten liar you are, George ! " he said. " I
don't think that even Eunton was taken in."
"I suppose it sounded a little thin," Buncombe
answered coolly. "Put it this way, then, so far as
you are concerned. The shriek occurred in my house.
I've no explanation to offer to anybody."
" I like the sound of that better, Buncombe," he re-
marked. " Hullo ! What 's the matter with Eunton ? "
Lord Eunton was calling to them.
" You 've had a visitor who was in a hurry, old chap ! "
he remarked. " Send for a lantern."
Buncombe concealed his annoyance.
"I don't want to alarm the whole household," he
said. " I Ve a little electric torch in my study. I '11
He brought it out. The progress of a man from the
road to the small window, towards which Buncombe
glanced every now and then apprehensively, was marked
by much destruction. The intruder had effected his
exit either in great haste or in a singularly unfortunate
manner. He had apparently missed the gate, which at
this point was only a small hand one, and in clambering
over the fence he had broken the topmost strand of
wire. He had blundered into a bed of wallflowers,
A MAKEE OF HISTORY 163
which were all crushed and downtrodden, and snapped
off a rose tree in the middle. Below the window were
distinct traces of footmarks. Lord Runton, who held
the torch, was becoming excited.
"Buncombe," he said, "there is something which I
have not told you yet. I have had numerous reports
in about the car, and was able to trace it as far as Lynn,
but they all agreed in saying that it contained only two
persons — the driver and the man who called himself
Fielding. What became of the girl?"
" I have no idea," Buncombe answered steadily.
" Of course not," Lord Runton continued, " but don't
you think it possible that — without your knowledge, of
course — she may be hidden somewhere about here?
That cry was not like the cry of a housemaid. Let us
have the whole place searched."
Buncombe shrugged his shoulders.
"As you will," he answered. "I am certain, how-
ever, that it will be useless. There is no place here
where any one could hide."
"Your servants may know something,"^ Runton
"I have already questioned them," Buncombe
" Come along, Mr. Spencer," Lord Runton exclaimed,
" let us search the grounds."
Spencer shook his head.
" Waste of time, Lord Runton," he answered.
" If you really want to discover the whereabouts of
this missing young lady, and she should by any chance
be close at hand, I should recommend you to induce
Sir George to let you search the room to which those
164 A MAKEE OF HISTOEY
" The library," Duncombe interrupted quickly.
" Search it by aU means, if you like. I have done so
Spencer was facing the house.
" The library ! " he remarked reflectively. " Ah I '*
He stooped down to light a cigarette. Suddenly he
felt Buncombe's hot breath upon his cheek. In the
momentary glow of the match he caught a silhouette of
a pale, angry face, whose eyes were flashing upon him.
" This is n't your affair, Spencer. Shut up 1 "
Spencer blew out the match deliberately. They both
followed Lord Eunton to the library. Pelham was
standing in the middle of the room. He had the
appearance of a man listening intently.
" George," he asked sharply, " what is on the north
side of this room?"
" The wall ! " Duncombe answered.
« And beyond ? "
" A passage and the billiard-room."
Pelham seemed dissatisfied.
" I fancied," he muttered — " but I suppose it must
have been fancy. Do the women servants use that
passage ? "
" Of course ! Upon my word," Duncombe added, with
a nervous little laugh, " you all seem to be trying to
make my house into a Maskelyne and Cooke's home of
mystery. Let us go into the dining-room and have a
whisky and soda."
" Not for me, thanks," Lord Eunton declared. " I
must go back. The real object of my coming here,
Duncombe, was to see if the Mr. Spencer who called at
Eunton Place to-day was really Mr. Jarvis Spencer,
and if so to ask him whether he would help me."
A MAKER OF HISTORY 1C5
"To what extent, Lord Eunton?" Spencer asked
" To the extent of recovering, or attempting to recover,
the papers which were stolen from the Baron Von Rothe,"
Lord Runton said. "The Baron was a guest in my
house, and I feel the occurrence very much. He will
not let me even mention the matter to the police, but
I feel sure that he could not object to Mr. Spencer's
taking the matter in hand."
" I think you will find," Spencer said, " that Yon
Rothe has already placed the matter in the hands of
his own people. The German secret service is pretty
active over here, you know. I have come in contact
with it once or twice."
" Nevertheless, for my own satisfaction," Lord Runton
continued, " I should like the matter inquired into by
you, Mr. Spencer."
" I am not quite sure whether I am free to help you
or not," Spencer said slowly. "May I come and see
you to-morrow morning ? "
" If you prefer it," Lord Runton said doubtfully.
" Come as early as possible. Good night, Buncombe 1 I
should like to know who your nocturnal visitor was."
" If he comes again," Buncombe said, "I may be able
to tell you."
He walked to his desk, and taking out a revolver,
slipped it into his pocket. Then he rang the beU for
Lord Runton's carriage. It seemed to Buncombe that
there was a shade of coolness in his visitor's manner
as he took his leave. He drew Spencer a little on one
" I want you to promise to come and see me in any
case to-morrow morning," he said. " There is something
166 A MAKEE OF HISTOKY
which I should prefer saying to you in my own house
to saying here."
" Very well," he said, " I will come. I can promise
that much at least."
Lord Eunton departed. Pelham went off to hed.
Spencer and his host were left alone in the library.
" Billiards, or a whisky and soda in the smoke-
room ? " the latter asked. " I know that you are not a
" Neither, thanks. Just a word with you here,"
Duncombe paused on his way to the door. Spencer
was standing in a reflective attitude, with his hands
behind his back, gently balancing himself upon his toes.
" I am very much disposed," he said, " to accept Lord
Eunton' s offer. Have you any objection ? "
" Of course I have," Duncombe answered. " You are
working for me."
"Was working for you," Spencer corrected gently.
« That is all over, is n't it ? "
" What do you mean ? " Duncombe exclaimed.
Spencer stood squarely upon his feet. He looked a
" My engagement from you was to find Miss Phyllis
Poynton," he said softly. "You and I are perfectly
well aware that the yoimg lady in question is — well, a
few yards behind that curtain," he said, motioning with
his head towards it. " My task is accomplished, and I
consider myself a free man."
Duncombe was silent for a moment. He walked rest-
lessly to the window and back again.
" How did you find out that she was here ? " he asked.
A MAKER OF HISTORY 167
Spencer looked a little disgusted.
" My dear fellow," he said, " any one with the brains
of a mouse must have discovered that. Why, Lord
Runton, without any of the intimations which I have
received, is a little suspicious. That is merely a matter
of ABC. There were difficulties, I admit, and I am
sorry to say that I have never solved them. I cannot
tell you at this moment how it comes about that a
young lady, brought up in the country here, and from
all I can learn an ordinary, unambitious, virtuous sort
of young person, should disappear from England in
search of a missing brother, and return in a few months
the companion of one of the most dangerous and bril-
liant members of the French secret service. This sort
of thing is clean beyond me, I admit. I will be frank
with you. Buncombe. I have met with difficulties in
this case which I have never met with before — peculiar
" Go on! " Buncombe exclaimed eagerly.
"I have many sources of information in Paris,"
Spencer continued slowly. " I have acquaintances
amongst waiters, cabmen, caf^-proprietors, detectives,
and many such people. I have always found them
most useful. I went amongst them, making careful
inquiries about Phyllis Poynton and her brother. They
were like men struck dumb. Their mouths were
closed like rat-traps. The mention of either the boy
or the girl seemed to change them as though like magic
from pleasant, talkative men and women, very eager to
make the best of their little bit of information, into
surly idiots, incapable of understanding or answering
the slightest question. It was the most extraordinary
experience I have ever come across."
168 A MAKEE OF HISTOEY
Duncombe was breathlessly interested.
" What do you gather from it ? " he asked eagerly.
"I can only surmise," Spencer said slowly, "I can
only surmise the existence of some power, some force
or combination of forces behind all this, of the nature
of which I am entirely ignorant. I am bound to
admit that there is a certain amount of fascination to
me in the contemplation of any such thing. The murder
of that poor girl, for instance, who was proposing to give
you information, interests me exceedingly."
Duncombe shuddered at the recollection. The whole
scene was before him once more, the whole series of
events which had made his stay in Paris so eventful.
He laid his hand upon Spencer's arm.
" Spencer," he said, " you speak as though your task
were accomplished. It is n't. Phyllis Poynton may
indeed be where you say, but if so it is Phyllis Poynton
with the halter about her neck, with the fear of terrible
things in her heart. It is not you nor I who is the
jailer of her captivity. It is some power which has
yet to be discovered. Our task is not finished yet.
To-night I will try to question her about this network
of intrigue into which she seems to have been drawn.
If she will see you, you too shall ask her about it.
Don't think of deserting us yet."
"My dear Duncombe," Spencer said, "I may as well
confess at once that the sole interest I felt in Lord Eun-
ton's offer was that it is closely connected with the
matter we have been discussing."
"You shall have my entire confidence, Spencer,"
Duncombe declared. "The man who called himself
Fielding was badly wounded, and he passed here
almost unconscious. He entrusted the paper or let-
A MAKER OF HISTORY 169
ter, or whatever it was, he stole from Von Eothe's mes-
senger, to his so-called daughter, and she in her turn
passed it on to me. It is at this moment in my
Spencer looked very serious.
" My dear feUow," he said, " I congratulate you upon
your pluck, but not upon your discretion. You are
interfering in what may turn out to be a very great
matter — a matter in which a few lives are like the
pawns which are swept from the chess-board. Does
any one know this ? "
" She and I only ! You heard her shriek ? "
" A man threw up her window and climbed in. He
demanded the packet. He searched the room. When
he left her he declared that he should return at twelve
to-night, and if she did not hand it to him then he
Spencer smiled, and rubbed his hands softly together.
" Eeally," he murmured, " this is most interesting.
I am with you. Buncombe. With you altogether !
There is only one more question."
"You did not know Phyllis Poynton. You took up
this search for her out of your friendship for Pelham.
You are a rich man, young, strong, with every capacity
for enjoyment. What induces you to risk your life
in an adventure of this sort ? You see, I don't mince
Then Buncombe became grave. His face fell into
firm, hard lines. Yet as he spoke there was something
boyish about his expression.
" It is a fair question," he answered. " You won't
170 A MAKER OF HISTORY
understand me. I don't understand myself. I 've a
brilliant galaxy of fools behind me. They 've made
the pages of history interesting. They've been the
butt always of wiser men such as you, Spencer. The
girl in that room may be Phyllis Poynton or the worst
adventuress who ever lied her way through the mazes
of intrigue, but I love her 1 She 's in my life — a part
of it. If I lose her — well, you know what life is
like when the flame has gone and only the embers
Spencer nodded very softly.
" That is sufficient ! " he said. " You speak of things
that I myself do not understand. But that is nothing.
I know that they exist. But "
" But what about Pelham ? "
"Pelham has no prior claim," he answered. "As
soon as she is safe he shall know the whole truth. I
would tell him at this moment but that I am a little
afraid of him. He would never understand, as we can,
the intricacy of the situation. And now — to the
He rang the bell.
" Groves," he told the butler, " I am hungry. Bring
me in anything you can rake up for supper on a tray,
and a pint of champagne."
Spencer raised his eyebrows and smiled. Buncombe
" For her, of course," he said. " I am going to take
it in, and I want you to stay here. It is past eleven
HER FIRST KISS
" T WAS never," she declared, " quite so pleased to
X see any one in all my life. I was wondering
whether it would occur to you that I was starving."
He set the tray down for her, placed a chair in front
of the table, and busied himself opening the wine.
All the time he was looking at her.
" A\Tiatever have you been doing to yourself ? " he
asked at length.
She laughed softly.
" Oh, I had to amuse myself somehow," she answered.
" I 've done my hair a new way, rearranged all my
ornaments, and really I don't think a man has a right
to such a delightful manicure set. I felt terribly ner-
vous in the lavatory, though. I could hear some one
in the billiard-room all the time."
"That's all right!" he declared. "I've locked the
door there, and have the key in my pocket. No one
can get in from that side."
"Please talk, and don't watch me," she begged.
" I 'm ashamed to be so hungry."
He smiled and helped her to some more chicken. If
he talked he was scarcely conscious of what he said.
All the time his eyes kept straying towards her. She
had taken off her jacket and was dressed simply enough
in a blouse of some soft white material and a dark skirt.
172 A MAKER OF HISTORY
Everything, from the ornaments at her neck, the dull
metal waistband, and the trim shoes, seemed to him
to be carefully chosen, and the best of their sort. She
wore no rings, and her fingers had the rosy pinkness of
health. If she had seemed graceful to him before in
the drawing-room of Eunton Place, and surrounded
by some of the most beautiful women in the country,
she seemed more than ever so now, seated in the some-
what worn chair of his little studio. The color, too,
seemed to have come back to her cheeks. She seemed
to have regained in some measure her girlishness. Her
eyes were ever ready to laugh into his. She chattered
away as though the world after all contained nothing
more serious for her than for any other girl. Buncombe
hated to strike another note, yet he knew that sooner
or later it must be done.
"You are quite sure that you will not have any-
thing else ? " he asked.
" Absolutely, thanks ! I have never enjoyed any-
thing so much in my life."
He glanced at his watch. It was half-past eleven.
"I am afraid," he said, "that I am going to be a
nuisance to you, but one's friends often are that. I
want to be your friend. I want to prove myself such.
I am not an inquisitive person, by any means, but fate
has declared that I should be your inquisitor. There
are some questions which I am bound to ask you."
Her face grew suddenly grave,
"There is so little," she murmured, "which T can
"We shall see," he answered. "In the first place,
Lord Eunton has been here. He is one of my oldest
friends, and a very good fellow. He came to tell me
A MAKER OF HISTORY 173
that Von Rothe had been robbed in his house of some
valuable papers. He came partly to ask my advice.
All the time I was sitting opposite to him, with those
papers in my pocket."
She looked at him strangely.
"Perhaps," she said quietly, "you gave them up
" I did not," he answered. " You know very well
that I did not."
" It was your duty," she said in a low tone.
"Perhaps so. On the other hand," he continued,
" you trusted me. The papers are safe."
" Does he know that you have them ? " she asked.
" He knows nothing ! "
She looked at him steadfastly — not with any ap-
pearance of doubting his word, and yet as though she
were revolving something in her mind concerning him.
"I am thinking," she said, "how much better it
would have been for both of us if we had never met."
" The fates thought otherwise," he answered. " I
searched Paris for you, only to find you at my gates.
The fates meant you to be my friend. We must be
careful not to disappoint them. "
She shook her head a little wistfully.
" You have been very good to me," she said, " but
you don't understand "
" Precisely ! " he interrupted. " I don't understand.
I want to. To begin with — what in this world induced
you to throw in your lot even for an hour with the man
who called himself Fielding ? "
" I can answer no questions concerning myself,"
she said sadly.
174 A MAKER OF HISTOEY
"Come," he said, "it isn't so serious as all that, is
it ? Sooner or later your friends are sure to find you,
and they will not be content with such a statement as
that. You were summoned one day to Paris by or on
behalf of your brother, who had unaccountably disap-
peared there. You immediately appear to have followed
suit. You had no friends in Paris — neither, I think,
had he. I believe I am correct in saying that you had
neither of you ever been there before. If your brother
has fallen into bad hands, and if those same people are
trying to work upon your fears by leading you into
this sort of thing — well, I have friends who are
powerful enough to bring you safely out of any den
of thieves in the world. You are in an impossible
situation, my dear young lady. Nature never meant
you for an adventuress. There is no necessity for
you to become one. Why do you look at me like
There was terror in her face. He had hoped to
reassure her, to give her courage. On the contrary
every word he spoke only seemed to increase her
" Oh, I am afraid ! " she murmured. " I wish I had
taken my chance. I ought not to have burdened you
for a moment with my affairs. I have given you the
right to ask me questions which I cannot answer."
He was perplexed.
" If you have given promises to these people " he
" Oh, there is no question of promises," she inter-
rupted. " I am here of my own free will. I refuse
to answer any questions. I pray only if you would
be generous that you ask me none, that you keep me
A MAKER OF HISTOEY 175
until to-morrow, and let me go, not only from this
place, but out of your life. Then indeed I will be
grateful to you."
He took her hand in his. She yielded it without
any attempt at resistance, but it lay in his palm a cold,
" I am only concerned for your good," he said gently.
" It is your happiness only that I am anxious for. You
were not born or trained for a life of lies and crime. I
want to save you from it before it is too late."
" What I do," she said slowly, " I do of my own
" Not quite, I think," he answered, " but let that
pass. Listen! If you will not talk to me about
these things, will you talk to my friend, Jarvis Spencer ?
He is a gentleman, and a journalist by profession, but
he is also one of the cleverest amateur detectives in
She held up her hands with a little gesture of horror.
Her eyes were alight with fear.
" No ! " she cried. " No ! A thousand times, no !
Don't let him come near me, please. Oh, I wish I
could make you understand," she continued helplessly.
" You yourself in Paris only a few weeks ago were in
terrible danger. A girl who only gave, or meant to
give, you information about my brother and me was
murdered. You, too, would have been killed if you
had found anything out."
He would have answered her lightly, but the memory
of Mademoiselle Flossie lying dead upon the bed in that
gloomy little room suddenly rose up before him, and
the words died away upon his lips. He was silent for
a moment, and glanced again at his watch. It wanted
176 A MAKEK OF HISTORY
only five minutes to twelve. He came and leaned
over her chair.
" Phyllis," he said, " what am I to do about you ?
I cannot let you go out of my life like this. No, you
must listen to me for a moment. When Pelham sent
for me after you had disappeared he showed me your
picture. I am not exactly the sort of man of whom
knight-errants are made. I have never gone a mile
out of my way to meet any woman in my life. My
life here has seemed of all things the best to me. I am
a dull, unambitious sort of fellow, you know, since I
settled down here, and I expected to go on for the rest
of my days pretty much in the same way. And yet
when Pelham showed me your picture it was different.
I made him give a copy to me. I told him — liar that I
was — that I could not carry the memory of your face
in my mind, when it was already engraven in my heart.
And I went off to Paris, Phyllis, like the veriest Don
Quixote, and I came back very sad indeed when I
could not find you. Then you came to Eunton Place,
and the trouble began. I did not care who you were,
Phyllis Poynton, Sybil Fielding, or any one else. I let
the others dispute. You were — yourself, and I love
you, dear. Now do you understand why I cannot let
you go away like this ? "
He had both her hands in his now, but her face was
turned away. Then without any warning, there came a
soft rapping at the door which led into the library.
Duncombe reached it in a couple of strides. He
opened it cautiously, and found Spencer standing there.
" I thought it best to let you know," he said, " that
a carriage has stopped in the lane. If I can be of any
assistance I shall be here — and ready."
jif '^ \ y;^f;^y^
"Duncombe started back. The girl half rose to her feet."
A MAKER OF HISTORY 177
Duncombe nodded and closed the door. The girl
was sitting upright in her chair, with the old look of
fear in her eyes.
"Who was that?" she asked quickly.
" Spencer," he answered. " He discovered your pres-
ence here, but he is perfectly discreet. He knocked
to tell me that a carriage has stopped in the lane
She was white with fear, but he only laughed, and
stooping down would have taken her hands once more.
But at that moment an unexpected sound intervened.
The deep silence of the house was broken by the ringing
of the front door bell.
Duncombe started back. The girl half rose to her feet.
" The front door ! " he exclaimed. " The servants
will have gone to bed. I must answer it myself."
She clung to him with a sudden abandon. She
was white to the lips.
" I ^am afraid," she moaned. " Don't leave me
He glanced towards the window.
" By Jove, it may be a trap ! " he exclaimed. " Let
them ring. I '11 stay here with you."
They stood hand in hand listening. His head was
turned towards the door, but the gentle pressure of
her fingers drew him round. Her face was upturned to
his. Something of the fear had gone. There was an.
eager, almost desperate, light in her softened eyes, and
a tinge of color in her cheeks. He caught her into his
arms, and their lips met. She disengaged herself almost
" I don't care," she said with a little laugh. " That is
the first kiss I have ever given to a man, and very likely
178 A MAKEE OF HISTORY
it will be the last. You won't be able to saj that I have
gone away without payiug my bill. Now go and open
the front door, Sir George."
He hesitated for a moment.
" Say only the word, Phyllis, and no one in the world
shall ever take you away."
She did not even answer him. He left her with a
" Spencer," he said, " if you hear the slightest noise
in that room go in and shout for me."
Spencer nodded. The front door bell rang again.
THE EMPTY ROOM
DUNCOMBE unfastened the chain and bolts of the
ponderous front door, and looked out into the
darkness. A carriage and pair of horses were drawn
up outside. A man and a woman, both dressed in long
travelling- coats, were standing upon the door-step.
" This is Buncombe Hall, I believe ? " the man said.
" Is Sir George Buncombe at home ? "
" I am Sir George Buncombe," he answered. " Will
you come inside ? "
They crossed the threshold at once. The man was
tall and dark, and his voice and bearing were immistak-
able. The woman was fair, petite, and apparently very
sleepy. She wore magnificent furs, and she had the air
of being in a very bad temper.
" We really are heartily ashamed of ourselves for dis-
turbing you at such an hour, Sir George," the man said,
" but you will pardon us when you understand the posi-
tion. I am the Marquis de St. Ethol, and this is my
wife. I have a letter to you from my friend the Buke
of Chestow, with whom we have been staying."
Buncombe concealed his astonishment as well as he
was able. He bowed to the lady, and led them towards
the library. Spencer, who had heard them coming, had
hastily concealed his revolver, and was lounging in an
easy-chair reading the evening paper.
180 A MAKEE OF HISTOKY
" I liln afraid that my servants are all in bed," Dun-
combe said, " and I can offer you only a bachelor's
hospitality. This is my friend, Mr. Spencer — the Mar-
quis and Marquise de St. EthoL Wheel that easy-chair
up, Spencer, will you ? "
Spencer's brow had betrayed not the slightest sign of
surprise, but Buncombe fancied that the Marquis had
glanced at him keenly. He was holding a note in his
hand, which he offered to Buncombe.
" My errand is so unusual, and the hour so extraordi-
nary," he said, " that I thought it would be better for
Chestow to write you a line or two. Will you please
Duncombe tore open the envelope.
" Chestow, Wednesday Evening.
" My dear Buncombe, — My friend Be St. Ethol tells
me that he is obliged, at great personal inconvenience, to
execute a commission for a friend which involves a some-
what unceremonious call upon you to-night. He desires
me, therefore, to send you these few lines. The Marquis
de St. Ethol and his wife are amongst my oldest friends.
It gives me great pleasure to vouch for them both in
" Yours sincerely,
" The letter, I am afraid," the Marquis said, smiling,
" does little to satisfy your curiosity. Permit me to
explain my errand in a few words."
" Certainly," Buncombe interrupted. " But won't you
take something ? I am glad to see that Spencer is look-
ing after your wife."
The Marquise had raised her veil, and was leaning
A MAKER OF HISTORY 181
back in a chair, with a sandwich poised in the
fingers of one hand and a glass of Burgundy in the
other. She was looking a little less bored, and was
chatting gayly to Spencer, whose French was equal to
" I thank you very much," the Marquis said. " I will
not take anything to drink, but if you have cigarettes —
He lit one, and sat on the arm of an easy-chair.
" The facts are these," he said. " I have a great
friend in Paris who, knowing that I was at Chestow,
and returning to France to-morrow, has, I must say,
taken some advantage of my good nature. I am
asked to call here and escort home to her friends a
young lady, who, I understand, is for the moment a
guest under your roof. My friend, I must say, tele-
graphs in a most mysterious manner, but he is evidently
very anxious that we. should accede to his request. Our
appearance here at this time of night I admit is most
unjustifiable, but what were we to do ? It is abso-
lutely necessary for my wife to catch the two-twenty
from Charing Cross to-morrow. I hope that my friend
will some day appreciate my devotion. To come
round by your house I have had to borrow a carriage
from my friend Chestow. "We shall have to drive to
Norwich, and catch a train from there to London in the
small hours of the morning. I presume the young lady
is here ? "
" The young lady is here ! " Buncombe answered.
"May I inquire the name of the friend to whom you
are asked to take her ? "
The Marquis yawned slightly. He, too, seemed
182 A MAKER OF HISTORY
** My dear Sir George," he said, " I trust that you will
appreciate my position in this matter. I do not even
know the young lady's name. My eccentric friend in
his telegram, which occupied four forms, most specially
insisted that I should ask or answer no questions con-
" You are not aware, then, of the circumstances which
led to her coming here ? " Buncombe asked.
" I am utterly ignorant of them," the Marquis an-
swered. " I am constrained to remain so."
" You no doubt have some message for her," Dun-
combe said. " Her position here is a little peculiar.
She may desire some sort of information as to her
The Marquis knocked the ash off his cigarette.
" If you will produce the young lady," he said, " I
think that you will find her prepared to come with us
without asking any questions."
Duncombe threw open the door which led into the
inner room. The girl stepped forward as far as the
threshold and looked out upon them.
" The Marquis and the Marquise de St. Ethol," Dun-
combe said to her. " They have brought me a letter
from the Duke of Chestow, and they have come to take
you back to France."
The girl looked fixedly for a moment at the Marquise.
If any word or sign passed between them it escaped
Duncombe. Phyllis was content, however, to ask no
" I am quite ready," she said calmly.
The Marquise rose.
" Your luggage can be sent on," she remarked.
Duncombe approached Phyllis, and stood by her side.
A MAKER OF HISTORY 183
" These people/* he said, " will not tell me where
they are taking you to. Are you content to go ? "
" I must go," she answered simply.
" You wish me to give you "
"If you please," she interrupted.
He turned towards the door.
" I have something belonging to Miss — to my guest,"
he said, " in my own room. If you will excuse me for
a moment I will fetch it."
He returned with the sealed envelope which she had
given him, and which he placed in her hands. He
carried also a fur coat and an armful of wraps.
" You must take these," he declared. " It is cold
" But how can I return them to you ? " she protested.
" Xo, not the coat, please. I will take a rug if you like."
" You will take both," he said firmly. " There need
be no trouble about returning them. I shall be in Paris
myself shortly, and no doubt we shall come across one
Her eyes flashed something at him. WTiat it was he
could not rightly tell. It seemed to him that he saw
pleasure there, and fear, but more of the latter. The
" I trust," he said, " that in that case you will give us
the pleasure of seeing something of you. We live in the
Avenue de St. Cloud."
" You are very kind," Buncombe said. " I shall not
fail to come and see you."
Spencer threw open the door, and they passed out.
Phyllis kept by Buncombe's side. He felt her hand
steal into his.
" I want you to keep this envelope for me," she
184 A MAKEE OF IIISTOKY
whispered. " It contains nothing which could bring
you into trouble, or which concerns any one else. It is
just something which I should like to feel was in safe
He thrust it into his pocket.
" I will take care of it," he promised. " And — you
won't forget me ? We shall meet again — sooner per-
haps than you expect."
She shook her head.
" I hope to Heaven that we shall not ! At least, not
yet," she murmured fervently.
From the carriage window she put out her hand.
"You have been very kind to me," she said.
" An impossible word," he answered, with well-
affected gayety. *' A pleasant journey to you."
Then the carriage rolled away, and Spencer and he
were left alone. Duncombe secured the front door, and
they walked slowly back to the library.
" You know Paris well," Duncombe said. " Have
you ever heard of these people ? "
" My dear fellow ! " he exclaimed. " De St. Ethol is
one of the first nobles in France. I have seen him at
the races many times."
" Not the sort of people to lend themselves to any-
thing shady ? "
"The last in the world," Spencer answered. "She
was the Comtesse de Laugnan, and between them they
are connected with half a dozen Koyal houses. This
business is getting exceedingly interesting, Duncombe I "
But Duncombe was thinking of the empty room.
GUY POYNTON AGAIN
" T SUPPOSE," the boy said thoughtfully, " I must
I seem to you beastly ungrateful. " You 've been
a perfect brick to me ever since that night. But I
can't help being a bit homesick. You see, it was
really the first time I 'd ever been away from home
for long, and though my little place is n't a patch on
this, of course, still, I was born there, and I 'm jolly
fond of it."
His companion nodded, and his dark eyes rested
for a moment upon the other's face. Guy Poynton
was idly watching the reapers at work in the golden
valley below, and he did not catch his friend's
" You are very young, mon cher ami" he said. " As
one grows older one demands change. Change always of
scene and occupation. Now I, too, am most hideously
bored here, although it is my home. For me to live is
only possible in Paris — Paris, the beautiful."
Guy looked away from the fields. He resented a little
his friend's air of superiority.
" There 's only a year's difference in our ages ! " he
Henri de Bergillac smiled — this time more expres-
sively than ever, and held out his hands.
186 A MAKEE OF HISTORY
" I speak of experience, not years/' he said. " You
have lived for twenty years in a very delightful spot no
doubt, but away from everything which makes life en-
durable, possible even, for the child of the cities. I have
lived for twenty-one years mostly in Paris. Ah, the
difference ! "
Guy shrugged his shoulders, and leaned back in his
" Well," he said briefly, " tastes differ. I 've seen
quite all I want to of Paris for the rest of my life. Give
me a fine June morning in the country, and a tramp
roimd the farm, or an early morning start in September
walking down the partridges, or a gray day in Novem-
ber with a good gee underneath, plenty of grass ahead,
and hounds talking. Good God, I wish I were back in
Henri smiled and caressed his upper lip, where symp-
toms of a moustache were beginning to appear.
" My dear Guy," he said, " you speak crudely because
you do not understand. You know of Paris only its
grosser side. How can one learn more when he cannot
even speak its language? You know the Paris of the
tourist. The real magic of my beautiful city has never
entered into your heart. Your little dabble in its vices
and frivolities must not count to you as anything final.
The joy of Paris to one who understands is the exqui-
site refinement, the unsurpassed culture, of its abysmal
" The devil 1 " Guy exclaimed. " Have you found out
all that for yourself ? "
Henri was slightly annoyed. He was always annoyed
when he was not taken seriously.
" I have had the advantage," he said, " of many friend-
A MAKER OF HISTORY 187
ships with men whose names you would scarcely know,
but who directed the intellectual tendencies of the
younger generation of Parisians. People call us de-
cadents — I suppose, because we prefer intellectual pro-
gression to physical activity. I am afraid, dear friend,
that you would never be one of us."
" I am quite sure of it," Guy answered.
" You will not even drink absinthe," Henri continued,
helping himself from a little carafe which stood between
them, " absolutely the most artistic of all drinks. You
prefer a thing you call a pipe to my choicest cigarettes,
and you have upon your cheeks a color of which a
ploughboy should be ashamed."
Guy laughed good-humoredly.
" Well, I can't help being sunburnt 1 " he declared.
Henri sighed delicately.
" Ah, it is not only that," he said. " I wish so much
that I could make you understand. You positively
cultivate good health, take cold baths and walks and
exercises to preserve it."
" Why the dickens should n't I ? "
Henri half closed his eyes. He was a dutiful nephew,
but he felt that another month with this clodhopper of
an English boy would mean the snapping of his finely
" My friend," he began gently, " we in Paris of the
set to whom I belong do not consider good health to
be a state which makes for intellectual progression.
Good health means the triumph of the physical side
of man over the nervous. The healthy animal sleeps
and eats too much. He does not know the stimulus
of pain. His normal condition is unaspiring — not to
say bovine. The first essential, therefore, of life,
188 A MAKEK OF HISTOKY
according to our tenets, is to get rid of superfluous
Guy did not trust himself to speak this time. He
only stared at his companion, who seemed pleased to
have evoked his interest.
"Directly the body is weakened," Henri continued.
" the brain begins to act. With the indisposition for
physical effort comes activity of the imagination. Cig-
arettes, drugs, our friend here," he continued, patting the
carafe, " late nights, la helle passion — all these — all
He broke off in the middle of his sentence. Simulta-
neously he abandoned his carefully chosen attitude of
studied languor. He was leaning forward in his chair
watching a carriage which had just come into sight
along the straight wide road which led from the outside
world to the chateau.
" The devil ! " he ezclaimed. " My respected uncle !
Jacques I "
A man-servant stepped out upon the terrace.
" Monsieur 1 "
" Kemove the absinthe, Jacques. Monsieur le Due
arrives ! "
Guy, who also had been watching the carriage,
gave utterance to a little exclamation. He pointed
to two figures on horseback who rode behind the
" The gendarmes ! " he exclaimed. " They have come
for me at last ! "
His face was no longer ruddy. The pallor of fear
had crept to his cheeks. A note of despair rang in his
His companion only laughed.
A MAKER OF HISTORY 189
"Gendarmes, perhaps," he answered, "but not for
you, my young friend. Have I not told you that you
are in sanctuary here ? A guest of the Due de
Bergillac evades all suspicion. Ah, I understand well
those gendarmes. Let their presence cause you no anx-
iety, cher monsiettr. They are a guard of honor for
my reverend uncle and the personage who rides with
Guy resumed his chair, and sat with his head buried
in his hands in an attitude of depression. His com-
panion leaned over the stone balustrade of the terrace
and waved his hand to the occupants of the carriage
below. They pulled up at the bottom of the steps
and commenced slowly to ascend. In obedience to
an imperious gesture from his uncle, Henri advanced
to meet them. He greeted his uncle with graceful
affection. Before the other man, although his appear-
ance was homely and his dress almost untidy, he bowed
very low indeed, and accepted his proffered hand as
a mark of favor.
The Due de Bergillac was tall, sallow, with black
moustache and imperial. He possessed all the personal
essentials of the aristocrat, and he had the air of one
accustomed to command.
" Henri," he said, " your young friend is with you ? "
"But certainly," his nephew answered with a sigh.
" Am I not always obedient ? He has scarcely been
out of my sight since we arrived."
" Very good ! You saw us arrive just now. Did
you mention the name of Monsieur Grisson ? " the
" But certainly not ! " Henri answered.
The Duke nodded.
190 A MAKER OF HISTORY
"You have discretion," he said. "Monsieur Grisson
is here incognito. He wishes to hear your young friend's
story from his own lips." .
The Duke's companion nodded silently. He had
the air of a silent man. He was short, inclined to be
stout, and his dress and bearing were almost bourgeois.
His features were large and not particularly intelligent,
his cheeks were puffy, and his gray beard ill-humored.
He had the double neck of the Frenchman of the lower
class who has not denied himself the joys of the cuisine,
and his appearance would have been hopelessly com-
monplace but for the deep-set brilliant black eyes
which lit up his whole face and gave it an aspect of
"After dejeuner, you understand," he said. "It is
well that your young friend should not understand
that I came here for no other reason. I will see first
your manuscripts. Monsieur le Due."
The Duke waved his hand courteously to Guy as
the two men passed along on their way to the librar3\
Henri resumed his seat with a little shrug of the
" My respected uncle will bring such strange people
here to see his manuscripts and collection of missals,''
he remarked. " For myself it is a hobby which wearies
me. And you, mon cher Guy ? "
"I know nothing about them," he answered. "But
the gendarmes, Henri ? Why did they ride with your
uncle's carriage ? "
Henri smiled reassuringly.
" The old gentleman," he said, " has something to do
with the Government, and they were in attendance upon
him. You can realize, my friend," he added, "that
A MAKEE OF HISTOEY 191
you are indeed in a republican country. Such people
must have the entree to our houses, even to our table.
I presume that you will have the pleasure of taking
luncheon with him even."
A man-servant came out upon the terrace.
"Monsieur le Due desires me to say that luncheon
is served," he announced.
Henri passed his arm through his friend's.
" Come," he said, " let us go and see if we can amuse
ourselves with my uncle's venerable friend. I do not
suppose that he speaks English, but I will interpret
AN OLD STORY
GUY moved uneasily upon his chair. The color
mounted almost to his forehead. It was a humili-
ation this, upon which he had not counted. Monsieur
Grisson was sitting within a few feet of him. A ser-
viette was tucked carefully underneath his collar, and
his face was a little flushed with the exercise of eat-
ing. His eyes, however, were undimmed, and his man-
ners, although a little brusque, had certainly not merited
the epithet of bourgeois.
"It isn't much of a story," Guy began, makmg a
desperate effort. " It was my first visit to Paris, and I
lost my head a bit. I drank too much wine and quar-
relled with a fellow who certainly insulted me. They
all told me that I must fight him, so "
" Stop, Monsieur Poynton ! "
Guy raised his head in surprise. The exclama-
tion had come from the Due de Bergillac. Monsieur
Grisson was looking towards him as though for an
" My dear young friend," the Duke remarked with
a smile, "it is my stupidity which is to blame. I
had forgotten the little matter to which you are al-
luding, and — between ourselves — it is one which is
very much better not related to Monsieur Grisson.
I was alluding to your other adventure — up in the
A MAKER OF HISTORY 193
Guy for a moment was too astouislied for words. Then
he recovered himself with a little laugh and raised his
head. There was nothing terrible in the other affair.
" I will tell Monsieur Grisson about that with pleas-
ure," he said, "if it is likely to interest him. I was
in the North of Germany on a walking-tour, and I
had rather a stupid fancy to go as far as the Russian
frontier, and then return by Vienna to Paris. I was
quite alone, and had no one's plans but my own to
consult, so I started off from Steritz, I think the place
was called. AVell, we were within about forty miles
of a place called Renzan when our train was stopped
and shunted. We were told that some specials were
to go by. I should think we must have waited there
for an hour or more. Anyhow I got sick of it, and
passed through the cars on to the rear platform, and
down on to the line. I spoke to the guard, and I
understood him to say that we should not be starting
for at least half an hour. I strolled along the line
a little way and stopped to light a pipe. Suddenly
I heard a whistle, and when I turned round the rear
light of the train was moving away. I shouted and
ran as hard as I could, but it was no use. In less than
two minutes the train was out of my sight, and I was
The Duke pushed a small atlas across the table.
" I wonder," he said, " if you could put your finger on
about the spot where you were ? Here, you see, is the
Guy studied it for a few moments carefully, and
looked at the scale. Then he pointed to a certain spot.
"As near as I could say," he declared, "about
194 A MAKER OF HISTOEY
The Duke and Monsieur Gris^on exchanged quick
glances. Guy was beginning to feel a little mystified
" Proceed, if you please," the Duke said courteously.
" I am sure that Monsieur Grisson finds your story most
interesting. Permit me."
Guy sipped the fin cJiampagne from the glass which
the Duke had carefully filled, and took a cigarette from
the box at his elbow.
" I found myself/' he continued, " in the middle of a
dense pine forest, with just sufficient clearing for two
lines of raQs and no more. There seemed, to be nothing
for me to do but to walk ahead in the direction which
the train had taken. I lit a pipe and started out all
right, but I vev" s ::i _- : :::-:. Tlie -le-r«rs were a
long wav ai:-ar:, ar.;: :::- :r:::'-; ";, -:"^ecn i'r:^-h:fullv rouorh.
I walked for hours withou: seeing the slightest sign
of a -:a:i-n :: a ':':■-r^^: in :lie "::'^. a::! nna^v I -a:
dovrii d.ai bta:. My fe- were all ll:---, an:l I f^l:
that I couldn't walk another yard. Fjr:nna:ely it was
a warm night, and I raaa-r •,::: n:.y n.in I : ;■ oravrl under
the bracken just in-:.i- the w::;i un : l; ::■ sleep. I
found a comfortable place, and Id 7:-: _- ::- :: r:.en a
noise close at hand woke me. I sa: up and 1 "-:- :
"Within a few feet of me an engine and a single
carriage had pulled up. A: incervals along the Yv^- ■:■.-
far as I could see soldiers were stationed like .-rL.::r~.
I could see that they were looking sharply up and
down, and even a little way into the w; i. From
the train three or four men in long cloaks L, : a.'.eady
descended. They were standing in the track talking
For the first time Monsieur Grisson interrupted.
A MAKER OF HISTORY 195
He took his cigar from his mouth and leaned over
towards the young Englishman.
" You were lost yourself. You did not accost them ?
Ask them the way anywhere ? "
"It seems odd, I suppose, that I didn't," Guy an-
swered, " but do you know there was an air of secrecy
about the whole thing which rather frightened me.
And those soldiers had exactly the air of looking for
somebody to shoot. Anyhow, while I was hesitating
what to do, there was a whistle and another train came
from the opposite direction. Then, of course, I waited
to see what was going to happen."
" And you saw ? " the Duke began.
"I saw another single carriage arrive, more men in
long cloaks and more soldiers. There was a brief but
hearty greeting between two men, who seemed to be the
principals in this little pantomime. Then they both
got into the train which had arrived first, and I could see
them sitting at a table talking, and a third man, who
seemed to be a sort of secretary, was writing all the
time. In about half an hour they both stepped back on
to the line, and every one commenced shaking hands and
saying good-bye. Then the whole thing seemed to melt
away. The trains went on, the soldiers climbed into a
truck attached to one of them, and everything was just
as quiet as before."
" And afterwards ? "
"I waited until it was clear daylight, and then I
resumed my walk along the line. I found the next
station about five miles off, and I was thankful to
see that the guard of the train which had left me be-
hind had had the sense to put my luggage out there.
I went to the hotel and had some breakfast, and
196 A MAKER OF HISTORY
afterwards I chucked my idea of going so far as the
frontier, and left for Vienna. A week later I was in
The Duke nodded.
" I have asked you this question before," he said
"but Monsieur Grisson is anxious to hear it from
your own lips. To how many people did you tell
this little adventure of yours before you reached
" To not a soul ! " Guy answered. " I was very dull
in Vienna. I found no one who could speak English
and my few words of German did me no good at all.
I came on to Paris within a week."
The Duke nodded.
"And in Paris for the first time!" he remarked.
" You mentioned the affair ? "
** Yes ! I took up an illustrated paper at a caf^
on the night of my arrival whilst waiting for supper,
and saw pictures of two men there who reminded me
very much of the two whom I had seen on the railway
near Pozen. I think I made some remark out loud
which attracted the attention of a woman who was
sitting at the next table, and later on I told her the
" And since then ? "
" Since then I have told it to no one."
" Was there any one in the caf^ you have spoken of
who seemed to take any particular interest in you ? "
Guy considered for a moment.
"There was a young lady from Vienna," he said,
"who seemed to want to talk to me."
The two men exchanged glances.
" Madame has justified herself," the Duke murmured.
A MAKER OF HISTOBY 197
"She was trying to listen to what I was saying to
the English girl — Mademoiselle Flossie, she called her-
self, and when she went away with her friends she
threw me a note with two words on it — 'prenez
garde!' I know it struck me as beiDg rather queer,
He hesitated. The Duke nodded.
"Go on!" he said.
" Well, I may as well tell you everything," Guy con-
tinued, " even if it does sound rather like rot. All the
time I was in Vienna and on the journey to Paris I
fancied that I was being followed. I kept on seeing
the same people, and a man who got in at Strasburg —
I had seen him before at the hotel in Vienna — tried
all he could to pal up to me. I hate Germans though,
and I did n't like the look of the fellow, so I would n't
have anything to say to him, though I feel sure he
tipped the conductor to put him in my compartment.
I gave him the slip at the railway station at Paris, but
I'm almost sure I saw him that night at the Cafd
"Your story," Monsieur Grisson said quietly, "be-
comes more and more interesting. Monsieur le Due
here has hinted at some slight indiscretion of yours
on the night of your arrival in Paris. I have some
influence with the Government here, and I think I can
promise you some very substantial help in return for
the information you have given us. But I want you
to turn your thoughts back to the night you spent by
the railroad. Can you remember anything further about
it, however trifling, which you have not told us ? "
Guy leaned back in his chair and thought for a
198 A MAKER OF HISTOEY
" By Jove," he declared, " there is something which I
forgot altogether. Just before that little party in the
railway saloon broke up the chap in the car who had
been writing left his seat, and a loose page of paper flut-
tered through the window."
The two men leaned across the table almost simul-
"What became of it?" the Duke asked sharply.
"I picked it up and put it in my pocket," Guy
"Did you read it?" the Duke asked.
" I could n't ! It was in German I "
" Where is it now ? " Monsieur Grisson demanded.
Guy reflected. The faces of the two men amazed
him. It was as though great things depended upon
"It is with my pocketbook and my letter of credit.
I remember that I kept it as a curiosity."
" A curiosity ! " the Duke exclaimed. " You have it
Guy shook his head.
" It is in my portmanteau ! " he answered.
The faces of the two men betrayed their disappoint-
ment. They conversed for a few moments in rapid
French. Then the Duke turned to Guy.
"You do not object to our sending a trusted person
to look through your portmanteau ! " he asked. " Mon-
sieur Grisson and I are very curious about that sheet of
"Certainly not," Guy answered. "But may I not
have my luggage here ? "
The Duke shook his head.
"Not yet," he said. "It would not be wise. We
A MAKER OF HISTORY 199
must give Monsieur Grisson time to arrange your little
"I don't want to seem a nuisance," Guy continued,
"but about my sister?"
" She has been assured of your safety," the Duke de-
clared. "For the rest we will talk later in the day.
Monsieur Grisson and I are going to the telephona
You will find Henri on the terrace."
A BODY FROM THE SEINE
"AT the sport, my young friend," Henri murmured,
J\, from the depths of his basket chair, " I yield you
without question supremacy. Your rude games, trials
mostly of brute strength, do not interest me. Your
horsemanship I must confess that I env}^, and I fear
that you are a better shot. But two things remain
" Only two ? " Guy murmured. " "WTiat unexampled
modesty ! "
" I can drive a racing automobile at eighty miles an
hour, and with the foils I can play with you."
" I give you the first," Guy answered, " but I 'm begin-
ning to fancy myself a bit with the sticks. Let 's have
a bout ! "
"My dear Guy," Henri exclaimed, "forgive me, but
what a crude suggestion ! The first breeze of the day
is just coming up from the lake. Close your eyes as I
do. Can't you catch the perfume of the roses and the
late lilac ? Exquisite. In half an hour you will see a
new green in the woods there as the sun drops. This
is silent joy. You would exchange it for vulgar
"I don't see anything vulgar about fencing," Guy
replied. "It's all right here, of course, but I'm
getting stiff, and I have n't the appetite of a kitten. I
A MAKER OF HISTORY 201
should like a good hour's bout, a swim afterwards in the
baths, and a rub down. Come on, Henri ! It 11 make
us as fit as possible."
Henri shivered a little.
" My young friend," he murmured, " you move me to
despair. How can an alliance between nations with
such contrary ideals be possible ? You would desert
a beautiful scene like this to gain by vulgar exercise an
appetite that you may eat. Can't you realize the crude-
ness of it? Yet I must remember that you are my
guest," he added, striking the bell by his side. " Antoine
shall prepare my linen clothes, and I will give you a
lesson. Antoine," he added, half turning to the man-
servant who stood by his elbow, " my black linen
fencing-clothes and shoes in the dressing-room, and
have the floor in the fencing-gallery sprinkled with
The man bowed, and Henri slowly rose from his chair.
" Don't bother about it, you know, if you mind very
much," Guy said. " Would you rather have a game of
billiards, or a swim in the lake ? "
Henri thrust his arm through his friend's.
" By no means," he answered. " If we are to do any-
thing at all we will do the thing in which I excel. It
feeds my vanity, which is good for me, for by disposition
I am over-modest."
But they were not destined to fence that night, for
on their way across the hall the Duke's own servant
"Monsieur le Due," he announced, "desires to speak
with Monsieur in the library."
Henri let go his friend's arm.
" I return to the terrace, mon ami," he said. " You
202 A MAKER OF HISTORY
can fetch me when my respected uncle has finished with
Monsieur le Due and Monsieur Grisson were still
together. Immediately the door was closed the former
turned to Guy.
" Your luggage has been thoroughly searched," he
announced, " by a trusty agent. The letter of credit is
stni there, but the paper of which you spoke is
Guy looked a little incredulous.
"I know it was there the evening I left the hotel,"
he answered. " It was fastened to my letter of credit
by an elastic band. The man you sent must have
The Duke shook his head.
" That," he said, " is impossible. The paper has been
"But who could have known about it?" Guy pro-
" Monsieur Poynton," the Duke said, " we think it well
— Monsieur Grisson and I — to take you a little further
into our confidence. Has it occurred to you, I wonder,
to appreciate the significance of what you saw on the
railway in the forest of Pozen ? "
" I 'm afraid — not altogether," Guy answered.
" We assumed as much," the Duke said. " What you
did see was this. You saw a meeting between the
German Emperor and the Czar of Russia. It was mar-
vellously well arranged, and except those interested you
were probably the only witness. According to the news-
papers they were never less than four hundred miles
apart, but on the day in question the Emperor was
reported to be confined to his room by a slight chill,
A MAKER . OF HISTORY 203
and the Czar to be resting after a fatiguing journey.
You understand that this meeting was meant to be kept
a profound secret ? "
" But why ? " he asked. " Was there any special
reason why they should not meet ? "
" My yoimg friend," the Duke answered gravely, " this
meeting of which you were the only witness might,
but for your chance presence there, have altered the
destiny of Europe. Try how you will you cannot ap-
preciate its far-reaching possibilities. I will endeavor to
give you the bare outlines of the affair. Even you, I
suppose, have observed or heard of the growing friend-
ship between my country and yours, which has cul-
minated in what is called the entente cordiale."
" Yes, I know as much as that," Guy admitted.
** This movement," the Duke said, " has been looked
upon with growing distaste and disfavor in Russia.
Russia is the traditional and inevitable enemy of your
country. Russia had, I may go so far as to say, made
up her mind for war with England very soon after her
first reverses at the hands of Japan. I am telling you
now what is a matter of common knowledge amongst
diplomatists when I tell you that it was the attitude of
my country — of France — which alone has stayed her
" This is very interesting," Guy said, " even to
me, who have never taken any interest in politics,
" Wait I Russia, as I say, found us indisposed to back
her in any quarrel with England. She tm-ned then,
of course, to Germany. We became aware, through our
secret service, that something was on foot between the
204 A MAKER OF HISTORY
two countries. With our utmost vigilance we were
unable to obtain any particulars. It is you, Monsieur
Poynton, who have brought us the first information of
a definite character."
Guy looked his amazement, but he said nothing.
" To you," the Duke continued, " a secret meeting
between these two monarchs may not seem at all an
astonishing thing. To us it is of the gravest political
importance. Some sort of an understanding was arrived
at between them. What was it ? That sheet of paper
which was once in your possession might very possibly
contain the clue. Now you can appreciate its impor-
tance to us."
" What an ass I was not to take more care of it ! " Guy
" There are other things to be considered," the Duke
continued. "For the last month every dockyard in
Germany has been working night and day, and we
have authentic information as to a huge mobilization
scheme which is already on foot. We might have
wondered against whom these preparations were in-
tended but for you. As it is, the English Government
has been fully apprised of everything. Your magnificent
fleet, under the pretext of seeing the Baltic Squadron
safely on its way, has been gradually concentrated.
From despatches to the German Ambassador which
we have managed to intercept in England, we know
that it is intended to raise a casus belli during the
presence of the squadron in British waters. Quite
unexpectedly, as it was hoped, Germany was to range
herself on Eussia's side and strike against England.
We, Russia's nominal ally, have had no intimation of
this whatever. We are apparently left to ourselves —
A MAKER OF HISTORY 205
ignored. Our friendship with your country has de-
stroyed Russia's friendship for us. She relies no doubt
on our neutrality, and she makes terms, doubtless
absurdly favorable ones, with our ancient enemy.
In the eyes of the world France is to be made to appear
ridiculous. The German Empire is to be ruled from
London, and the Emperor Wilhelm's known ambition
is to be realized."
"It sounds," Guy admitted, "like a nightmare. I
know you foreigners all think we English are a lot
too cock-sure, but we have our own ideas, you know,
about any attempt at invasion."
"I am afraid," the Duke said, "that when it comes
to throwing a million men at different points of your
coasts protected by a superb navy you might find
yourselves unpleasantly surprised. But let that pass.
Have I said enough to make you understand the impor-
tance of what you saw in the forest of Pozen ? Good !
Now I want you to understand this. In the interests
of your country and mine it is most important that the
fact of our knowledge of this meeting should be kept a
" Yes," Guy said, " I understand that."
" Your presence there," the Duke continued, " created
a certain amount of suspicion. You were watched
to Paris by German spies, and if they had had the
least idea of how much you had seen your life would
not have been worth five minutes' purchase. As it
is they are uneasy over your disappearance. There
are at least a dozen men and women in Paris and
England to-day who are searching for you ! You are
moderately safe here, but not altogether. I want to
put them finally off the scent. I might, of course, put
206 A MAKEE OF HISTORY
you into such confinement that detection would be
impossible. I do not want to do that. You have
rendered your own country and mine an immense
service. I prefer to treat you as a gentleman and a
man of honor, and to take you, as I hope you will
see that I have done, into our entire confidence."
" Monsieur le Due," Guy answered, " I can assure
you that I appreciate all that you have said. I am
willing to do exactly as you say."
•' To-morrow morniDg's papers," the Duke said slowly,
" will contain an account of the finding of your body in
" My what I " Guy exclaimed.
" Your body ! We are going to stab and drown you.
Perhaps I should say we are going to discover you
stabbed and drowned."
Guy half rose from his seat.
" I say " he began.
" I need not explain, of course," the Duke continued,
" that you will suffer by proxy. The whole affair has
been carefully arranged by the commissioners of police.
"An account of your doings since you arrived in
Paris will be given, which I fear may not flatter you,
but you must remember that it is necessary to put our
German friends completely off the scent, and in a
month's time or so you will reappear, and everything
will be contradicted."
" But my sister ? " Guy exclaimed.
"Concerning your sister," the Duke continued, "we
have further explanations, perhaps I should say apologies,
to offer you at some future time. For the present — this
only. She is now in Paris. She is to some extent in our
confidence, and you shall see her within the next few days."
A MAKER OF HISTORY 207
" And what are you going to do with me really ? "
"You will remain here. Half the servants of the
household have been dismissed, and every one who is
not absolutely trustworthy has been got rid of. We
are in close consultation with your English Cabinet,
and the moment the time arrives for us to disclose our
knowledge of these secrets you will be free to go where
" Absolutely free ? " Guy asked anxiously.
" Certainly ! " the Duke answered. " The other little
affair is cancelled by your present services. In fact,
as regards that, you need not give yourself another
A small telephone which stood upon the table rang
sharply. The Duke exchanged a few sentences and
replaced the receiver. He turned to Guy.
" It is an affair of the tides," he said. " Your body
was washed up this afternoon, six hours before time.
It will be in the evening papers. Ah 1 "
The telephone rang again. This time it was Monsieur
Grisson who was required. He listened for a moment
or two with inscrutable countenance. Then he glanced
at the clock.
"The Eussian Ambassador," he said, replacing the
receiver, " desires an immediate interview with me on a
matter of the utmost importance — and the Eussian
Fleet has left the Baltic 1"
THE INSOLENCE OF MADAME LA MARQUISE
DUNCOMBE was passed from the concierge to a
footman, and from a footman to a quietly dressed
groom of the chambers, who brought him at last to
Madame la Marquise. She gave him the tips of her
fingers and a somewhat inquiring gaze.
" Sir George Duncombe, is it not ? " she remarked.
" I am not receiving this afternoon, but your message
was so urgent. Forgive me, but it was not by any
chance my husband whom you wished to see ? "
" Your husband would have done as well, Madame,"
Duncombe answered bluntly, "but I learned that he
was not at home. My visit is really to Miss Poynton.
I should be exceedingly obliged if you would allow
me the privilege of a few minutes' conversation with
The forehead of the Marquise was wrinkled with
surprise. She stood amidst all the wonders of her
magnificent drawing-room like a dainty Dresden doll —
petite, cold, dressed to perfection. Her manner and her
tone were alike frigid.
" But, Monsieur," she said, " that is wholly impossible.
Mademoiselle is too thoroughly upset by the terrible
news in the paper this morning. It is unheard of.
Monsieur may call again if he is a friend of Mademoiselle
Poynton's — say, in a fortnight."
A MAKER OF HISTORY 209
" Marquise," he said, " it is necessary that I see
Mademoiselle at once. I am the bearer of good
The Marquise looked at him steadily.
" Of good news, Monsieur ? "
" But how can that be ? "
" If Madame will give me the opportunity," he said,
" I should only be too glad to explain — to Mademoiselle
"If, indeed, it should be good news," the Marquise
said slowly, " it were better broken gradually to Made-
moiselle. I will take her a message."
" Permit me to see her. Marquise," he begged. ** My
errand is indeed important."
She shook her head.
" It is not," she said, " according to the convenances.
Mademoiselle is under my protection. I have not the
honor of knowing you, Monsieur."
Duncombe raised his eyebrows.
" But you remember calling at my house in Norfolk,
and bringing Miss Poynton away," he said.
She stared at him calmly.
" The matter," she said, " has escaped my memory. I
do not love your country. Monsieur, and my rare visits
there do not linger in my mind."
" Your husband," he reminded her, " asked me to visit
" My husband's friends," she replied, " are not mine."
The calm insolence of her manner towards him
took him aback. He had scarcely expected such a
" I can only apologize, Madame," he said with a bow,
210 A MAKEE OF HISTOEY
** for intruding. I will await your husband's return in
He bowed low, and turned to leave the room. He
had almost reached the door before she stopped
He turned round. Her voice was different.
" Come and sit down here," she said, pointing to a
sofa by her side.
He obeyed her, thoroughly amazed. She leaned
back amongst the cushions and looked at him thought-
" How is it that you — an Englishman — speak French
so well ? " she asked.
" I lived in Paris for some years," he answered.
" Indeed ! And yet you returned to — Norfolk, is
. " It is true, Madame ! " he admitted.
"How droll!" she murmured. "Miss Poynton —
she is an old friend of yours ? "
" I am very anxious to see her, Madame ! "
" Why ? "
He hesitated. After all, his was no secret mission.
" I have reason to believe," he said, " that a mistake
has been made in the identity of the body found in the
Seine and supposed to be her brother's."
She gave a little start. It seemed to him that from
that moment she regarded him with more interest.
" But that. Monsieur," she said, " is not possible."
" Why not ? "
She did not answer him for a moment. Instead she
rang a bell.
A MAKER OF HISTORY 211
A servant appeared almost immediately.
" Request Monsieur le Marquis to step this way im-
mediately he returns," she ordered.
The man bowed and withdrew. The Marquise turned
again to Duncombe.
" It is quite impossible ! " she repeated. " Do you
know who it was that identified — the young
man ? "
Duncombe shook his head.
" I know nothing," he said. " I saw the notice in
the paper, and I have been to the Morgue with a
" Were you allowed to see it ? "
" No ! For some reason or other we were not. But
we managed to bribe one of the attendants, and we got
the police description."
" This," Madame said, " is interesting. Well ? "
"There was one point in particular in the descrip-
tion," Duncombe said, " and a very important one,
which proved to us both that the dead man was not
" It is no secret, I presume ? " she said. " Tell me
what it was."
Duncombe hesitated. He saw no reason for con-
cealing the facts.
" The height of the body," he said, " was given as five
feet nine. Guy Poynton was over six feet."
The Marquise nodded her head slowly.
" And now," she said, " shall I tell you who it is who
identified the body at the Morgue — apart from the
papers which were found in his pocket, and which
certainly belonged to Mr. Poynton ? "
" I should be interested to know," he admitted.
212 A MAKER OF IIISTOEY
" It was Miss Poynton herself. It is that which has
upset her so. She recognized him at once."
" Are you sure of this, Madame ? " Buncombe
"I myself," the Marquise answered, "accompanied
her there. It was terrible."
Buncombe looked very grave.
" I am indeed sorry to hear this," he said. " There
can be no possibility of any mistake, then ? "
*■' None whatever ! " the Marquise declared.
" You will permit me to see her ? " Buncombe begged.
"If I am not a very old friend — I am at least an
The Marquise shook her head.
" She is not in a fit state to see any one," she de-
clared. " The visit to the Morgue has upset her almost
as much as the affair itself. You must have patience,
Monsieur. In a fortnight or three weeks at the earli-
est she may be disposed to see friends. Certainly not
" I may send her a message ? " Buncombe asked.
The Marquise nodded.
" Yes. You may write it, if you like."
" And I may wait for an answer ? "
Buncombe scribbled a few lines on the back of a
visiting-card. The Marquise took it from him and
" I will return," she said. " You shall be entirely
She left him alone for nearly ten minutes. She
had scarcely left the room when another visitor entered.
A MAKER OF HISTOEY 213
The Vicomte de Bergillac, in a dark brown suit
and an apple-green tie, bowed to Duncombe, and
carefully selected the most comfortable chair in his
" So you took my advice, Monsieur," he remarked,
helping himself to a cushion from another chair, and
placing it behind his head.
" I admit it," Duncombe answered. " On the whole I
believe that it was very good advice."
" Would you," the Vicomte murmured, " like another
dose ? "
" I trust," Duncombe said, " that there is no ne-
The Vicomte reflected.
" Why are you here ? " he asked.
" To see Miss Poynton."
" And again why ? "
Duncombe smiled. The boy's manner was so de-
void of impertinence that he found it impossible to
resent his questions.
" Well," he said, " I came hoping to bring Miss
Poynton some good news. I had information which
led me seriously to doubt whether the body which
has ,been found in the Seine is really her
The Vicomte sat up as though he had been
" My friend," he said slowly, " I take some interest in
you, but, upon my word, I begin to believe that you will
end your days in the Morgue yourself. As you value
your life, don't tell any one else what you have told me.
I trust that I am the first."
214 A MAKEK OF HISTORY
" I have told the Marquise," Duncombe answered,
" and she has gone to find out whether Miss Poynton
will see me."
The Vicomte's patent boot tapped the floor slowly.
"You have told the Marquise," he repeated thought-
fully. " Stop ! I must think ! "
There was a short silence. Then the Vicomte looked
" Very well," he said. " Now listen ! Have you
any confidence in me ? "
" Undoubtedly," Duncombe answered. " The ad-
vice you gave me before was, I know, good. It was
confirmed a few hours following, and, as you know, I
" Then listen," the Vicomte said. " L affaire Poynton
is in excellent hands. The young lady will come to
no harm. You are here, I know, because you are her
friend. You can help her if you will."
" How ? " Duncombe asked.
" By leaving Paris to-day."
" Your advice," Dimcombe said grimly, " seems to lack
The Vicomte shrugged his shoulders.
" The other affair," he said, " is still open. If I
stepped to the telephone here you would be arrested
within the hour."
" Can't you leave the riddles out and talk so that an
ordinary man can understand you for a few minutes ? "
" It is exactly what remains impossible," the Vicomte
answered smoothly. " But you know the old saying,
you have doubtless something similar in your own coun-
try, ' It is from our friends we suffer most.' Your pres-
A MAKEK OF HISTORY 215
ence here, your — forgive me — somewhat clumsy at-
tempts to solve this affaire Poynton, are likely to be a
cause of embarrassment to the young lady herself and
to others. Apart from that, it will certainly cost you
" Without some shadow of an explanation," Duncombe
said calmly, " I remain where I am in case I can be of
assistance to Miss Poynton."
The young man shrugged his shoulders, and saunter-
ing to a mirror rearranged his tie. Madame la Marquise
" You, Henri ! " she exclaimed.
He bowed low with exaggerated grace, and kissed the
tips of her fingers.
" I ! " he answered. " And — for this time with a per-
fectly legitimate reason for my coming. A commission
from my uncle."
" L affaire Poynton ? "
" Exactly, dear cousin."
" But why," she asked, " did they not show you into
my room ? "
" I learnt that my friend Sir George Duncombe was
here, and I desired to see him," he rejoined.
She shrugged her dainty shoulders.
" You will wait 1 " she directed. Then she turned to
Duncombe, and handed him a sealed envelope.
" If you please," she said, " will you read that —
He tore it open, and read the few hasty lines. Then
he looked up, and met the Marquise's expectant
" Madame," he said slowly, " does this come from Miss
Poynton of her own free will ? "
216 A MAKER OF HISTORY
She laughed insolently.
" Monsieur," she said, " my guests are subject to no
coercion in this house."
He bowed, and turned towards the door.
" Your answer, Monsieur ? " she called out.
" There is no answer," he replied.
THE INTERVIEWING OF PHYLLIS
THE Marquise made a wry face at his departing
figure, which changed swiftly into a smile as she
turned to the young Vicomte.
" Ah, these Englishmen ! " she exclaimed. " These
dull, good, obstinate, stupid pigs of Englishmen ! If
they would lose their tempers once — get angry, any-
thing. Do they make love as coldly, I wonder ? "
'' Dear cousin," he answered, " I do not know. But
if you will permit me I will show you "
" You are so adorable, Ang^le," he murmured.
" And you," she answered, " are so indiscreet. It
is not your day, and I am expecting Gustav at any
moment. I have left word that he is to be shown up
here. There, my hand for one moment, not so roughly,
sir. And now tell me why you came."
" On a diplomatic errand, my dear cousin. I must
see Miss Poynton."
She touched a bell.
" I will send for her," she said. " I shall not let you
see her alone. She is much too good-looking, and you
are far too impressionable ! "
He looked at her reproachfully.
•'Angele/' he said, "you speak so of a young Eng-
218 A MAKEE OF HISTORY
lish miss — to me, Henri de Bergillac — to me who have
known — who knows "
She interrupted him laughing. The exaggerated
devotion of his manner seemed to amuse her.
" My dear Henri ! " she said. " I do not believe
that even a young English miss is safe from you. But
attend ! She comes."
Phyllis entered the room and came towards them.
She was dressed in black, and she was still pale, but her
eyes and mouth were wholly without affinity to the
class of young person whom Henri had expected to
see. He rose and bowed, and Phyllis regarded him
with frank interest.
"Phyllis," the Marquise said, "this is the Vicomte
de Bergillac, and he brings you messages from some
one or other. Your affairs are quite too complicated
for my little head. Sit down and let him talk to
" If Monsieur le Vicomte has brought me messages
from the right person," Phyllis said with a smile,
"he will be very welcome. Seriously, Monsieur, I
seem to have fallen amongst friends here whose only
unkindness is an apparent desire to turn my life into
a maze. I hope that you are going to lead me out."
" I can conceive. Mademoiselle," the Vicomte an-
swered with his hand upon his heart, " no more
" Then I am quite sure," she answered, laughing
softly, " that we are both going to be very happy.
Please go on ! "
"Mademoiselle speaks delightful French," he mur-
mured, a little surprised.
" And, Monsieur, I can see," she answered, " is an
A MAKER OF HISTORY 219
apt flatterer. Afterwards as much as you please. But
now — well, I want to hear about Guy."
" Mademoiselle has commanded," he said with a
little gesture. "To proceed then. Monsieur Guy
is well, and ^is my constant companion. He is with
friends who wish him well, and this morning, Made-
moiselle, the President himself has given written orders
to the police to proceed no further in the unfortunate
Uttle affair of which Mademoiselle has knowledge."
Phyllis had lost all her pallor. She smiled delight-
fully upon him. Madame la Marquise rose with a
little impatient movement, and walked to the further
end of the room.
"How nice of you to come and tell me this," she
exclaimed, " and what a relief ! I am sure I think he
is very fortunate to have made such good friends."
"Mademoiselle," he declared with emphasis, "one
at least of those friends is more than repaid."
She laughed back into his eyes, frankly amused by
"And now," she said, "we come to the beginning
of the riddles. Why is it necessary for him to be
supposed drowned, if he is no longer in danger from
the police ? "
" Ah, Mademoiselle," he said, " I must speak to
you now of strange things. But, first, I must implore
you to promise me this, and remember it always.
Every word that I am going to say to you now must
remain for the present a profound secret. That is
agreed ? "
" Certaiuly I " she answered.
" Your brother," he continued, " in his travels on
the Continent stumbled by chance upon a State secret
220 A MAKER OF HISTORY
of international importance. He had himself no idea
of it, but a chance word which he let fall, on the first
evening I met him, gave the clue to myself and some
friends. In his enforced retirement we — that is, my
uncle and others — learned from him the whole story of
his adventure. It has placed the Government of this
country under great obligations. This, together with
your service to us, has secured his pardon."
" This is wonderful ! " she murmured.
" It is not all," he continued. " The spies of the
country where he learnt this secret have followed him
to Paris. They are to-day searching for him every-
where. If they knew that he realized the importance
of what he had seen, and had communicated it to the
proper persons here, our advantage in knowing it
would be largely lost. So far they have not traced
him. Now, I think that you have the key to what
must have puzzled you so much."
" This is wonderful I " she murmured. " Let me think
for a moment."
"You are naturally anxious," the Vicomte con-
tinued, " to see your brother. Before very long,
Mademoiselle, I trust that it may be my pleasure to
bring you together. But when I tell you that you
are watched continually in the hope that, through you,
your brother's hiding-place may be found, you will
understand the wisdom which for the present keeps
" I suppose so," she answered dubiously. *' But now
that his death is reported ? "
" Exactly, Mademoiselle. The affair has been arranged
so that the search for your brother will be abandoned
and the espionage on you removed. If the story of his
A MAKER OF HISTORY 221
doings in Paris, and the tragic sequel to them, be
believed by those whom we wish to believe it, then
they will also assume that his secret has died with him,
and that their schemes move on towards success. You
understand ? "
"Yes, Monsieur le Vicomte, I understand," she an-
swered slowly. " What, then, do you wish me to
"Mademoiselle," the Vicomte answered, fixing his
dark eyes impressively upon her, " for you there remains
the hardest of all tasks — inaction. Believe me that
when I came here, it was not my intention to put the
truth of the matter so plainly before you. Neither was
it the will of those whose orders I carry out. But I,
Mademoiselle, before all things, I believe in inspiration.
I find in Mademoiselle " — he bowed once more —
" qualities which alter the situation. I — a judge of
faces as I venture to believe myself — have looked into
yours, and many things have happened."
She laughed delightfully. Her eyes were lit with
" Ah, Monsieur ! " she protested.
" With you, Mademoiselle," he continued, " reposes
now a secret of great importance to your country and
mine. I ask for no pledge of discretion, but I rely upon
it. And, especially. Mademoiselle, may I warn you
against your friends?"
" I understand," she answered. " You wish me to
share this confidence with no one."
" With no one," the Vicomte repeated impressively.
" Not even, Mademoiselle, if I may venture to mention
a name, with your very persistent admirer. Sir George
Duncombe, whom I saw here a few moments since."
222 A MAKER OF HISTORY
She sighed, and the Vicomte's face became one of
** I have not been permitted to see him," she answered.
" He was here a few minutes ago."
" It is wiser so, Mademoiselle," the Vicomte said. " I
wonder," he added, " whether Mademoiselle will pardon
the impertinence of a purely personal question ? "
" I will try," she answered demurely.
*' This Englishman — Sir George Buncombe — are you
perhaps — how you say, betrothed to him ? "
A certain bluntness in the question, and the real or
affected anxiety of the young man's tone brought the
color streaming into her cheeks.
" Monsieur," she exclaimed, " you really must
"Ah, but. Mademoiselle," he interrupted, "so much
depends upon your answer."
" Absurd ! " she murmured. " I really do not see
why I should answer such a question at all."
" You will be merciful ? " he begged, lowering his
" I will," she answered. " I hope you will appreci-
ate my confidence. I am not engaged to Sir George
His sigh of relief was marvellous. She found it
harder than ever to keep the laughter from her eyes.
" Mademoiselle," he declared, '' it makes me happy
to have you say this."
" Really, Vicomte ! " she protested.
" The situation, too," he said, " becomes less complex.
We can very easily deal with him now. He shall annoy
you no more ! "
" But he does n't annoy me," she answered calmly.
A MAKER OF HISTOEY 223
" On the contrary I should like to see him very much, if
I were permitted."
" Mademoiselle will understand well the indiscretion,"
he said earnestly.
She sighed a little wearily.
" I am afraid," she said, " that I find it a little hard
to understand anything clearly, but you see that I trust
you. I will not see him."
" Mademoiselle is very wise," he answered. " Indeed,
it is better not. There remains now a question which I
have come to ask."
" Mademoiselle did not by chance whilst waiting for
her brother think of examining his luggage ? "
" I did look through it," she admitted.
" There was a paper there, which is missing now — a
sheet of paper with writing on it — in German. It is not
possible that Mademoiselle took possession of it?" he
" That is just what I did do," she said. " I could read
a few words, and I could not understand how it came to
be in his bag. It seemed to be part of an official agree-
ment between two countries."
" You have it now ? " he cried eagerly. " You have it
in your possession ? "
She shook her head
*' I gave it to some one to take care of," she said,
" when I was over in England. I got frightened when
we were nearly caught at Kunton, and I did not want it
to be found upon me."
'' To whom ? " he cried
224 A MAKER OF HISTORY
" To Sir George Duncombe I "
The Vicomte was silent for a moment
" You believe," he asked, " that Sir George Duncombe
would guard it carefully ] "
" I am sure he would," she answered.
"Mademoiselle," he said, "this is very important.
Your brother's luggage has been searched, and we came
to the conclusion that the paper had been taken by
those who had followed him here, and may possibly have
been aware that he had it. If we can get possession of
it, it will be very much to the advantage of your country
and mine. I scarcely dare say more. Will you give me
a letter to Sir George instructing him to deliver it up to
She leaned a little forward and looked steadily into
" Monsieur le Yicomte,'' she said, *' I do not know you
very well, and it is very hard indeed for me to tell who
are my fi'iends here. Can I trust you 'i "
" Mademoiselle," he answered, " I will not say ' like
your brother,* for it is a relationship I have no wish to
bear. Let me say Hke the person to whom your wel-
fare is dearer even than his own.''
Phyllis felt her lips curve into a smQe. Despite his
youth and manner, which seemed to her a little affected,
there was nevertheless undoubted earnestness in the ad-
miration which he took no pains to conceal
" Yery well, ^lonsieur le Yicomte,'* she said, " I will
give you the letter."
THE BLUNDERING OF ANDREW
THEY came face to face in the hall of the Grand
HoteL Duncombe had just returned from his call
upon the Marquise. Andrew was leaning upon the
arm of a dark, smooth-shaven man, and had apparently
just descended from the lift. At the sound of Dun-
combe's little exclamation they both stopped short.
Andrew turned his heavily spectacled eyes in Dun-
combe's direction, but it was obvious that he saw
" You here, Andrew ! "
« Yes ! Why not ? "
The tone was curt, almost discourteous. Duncombe
understood at once.
" Let us sit down somewhere, and talk for a few min-
utes," he said. " I did not expect you. You should have
let me know that you were coming."
Andrew laughed a little bitterly.
" I scarcely see why," he said. " To tell you the
truth, I see no advantage to either of us in any inter-
Duncombe took him by the arm and led him towards
" Andrew," he said, " perhaps I have behaved badly
— at least from your point of view, but remember that
I warned you. Let us sit down here. Who is your
226 A MAKEK OF HISTORY
" Never mind," Andrew answered. " You can say what
you have to before him. He is in my confidence."
Duncombe glanced around. The man had taken the
chair next to them, and was evidently prepared to listen
to all that was said. His clothes and bearing, and
quiet, unobtrusive manners, all seemed to suggest
truthfully enough his possible identity — an English
detective from an advertised office. Duncombe smiled
as he realized the almost pitiful inadequacy of such
" Come, Andrew," he said, turning to his friend, " you
have a small grievance against me, and you think you
have a great one."
" A small grievance ! " Andrew murmured softly.
" Thank you, Duncombe."
" Go on, then. State it ! " Duncombe declared. " Let
me hear what is in your mind."
Andrew raised his brows slowly. Twice he seemed
to speak, but at the last moment remained silent. He
was obviously struggling to control himself.
" There is this in my mind against you, Duncombe,"
he said finally. " I sent for you as a friend. You ac-
cepted a charge from me — as my friend. And you
Duncombe shook his head.
" Listen, Andrew," he said. " I want to remind you
again of what I said just now. I warned you ! No,
don't interrupt. It may have sounded like nonsense to
you. I meant every word I said. I honestly tried to
make you understand. I came here ; I risked many
things. I failed 1 I returned to England. Up till
then you had nothing to complain of. Then, Heaven
knows why, but the very girl whom I had gone to
A MAKER OF HISTORY 227
Paris to seek came to Eunton in the guise at least of
Andrew lifted his head quickly.
" You admit it at last, then ? " he cried.
" Yes, I admit it now," Buncombe agreed.
" You lied to me there — to me who had no eyes, who
trusted you. "\Miat was that but betrayal, rank, inex-
cusable betrayal I "
" Listen, Andrew," Buncombe said. " She told me
that she was not Phyllis Poynton. It was enough for
me. I disregarded my convictions. Her word was my
law. She said that she was not Phyllis Poynton, and
to me she never was Phyllis Poynton. She was afraid
of you, and I helped her to avoid you. I admit it 1 It
is the extent of my failing in our friendship, and you
« And now ? "
" I am here now," Buncombe said a little sadly, " be-
cause I love her, and because I cannot keep away. But
she will not see me, and I am no nearer solving the
mystery than ever. On the contrary, I know that I am
in danger here. It is possible that I may be driven to
leave Paris to-night."
" You know where she is now ? "
Andrew leaned suddenly over, and his grip was on
Buncombe's shoulder like a vise.
" Then, by God, you shall tell me ! " he said fiercely.
" Bon't you know, man, that Guy has been found iu the
Seine, robbed and drugged, and murdered without a
doubt ? Bo you want me to wait whilst something of
the same sort happens to her ? You shall tell me where
she is. Buncombe. I say that you shall tell me ! "
228 A MAKEE OF HISTOKY
" You can do no more than I have done," he
" Then at least I will do as much," Andrew answered.
" I am her oldest friend, and I have claims upon her
which you never could have. Now that she is in this
terrible trouble my place is by her side. I "
" One moment, Andrew," Duncombe interrupted. " Are
you sure that it was Guy Poynton who was found in the
Seine ? The height was given as five feet nine, and Guy
Poynton was over six feet."
" You should read the papers," Andrew answered
shortly. "He was identified by his sister."
" The papers said so," Duncombe answered hesitat-
ingly ; " but "
" Look here," Andrew interrupted, " I have had enough
of this playing with facts. You have grown too complex
about this business altogether, Duncombe. Give me
Phyllis Poynton's address."
" You shall have it," Duncombe answered, taking a
leaf from his pocketbook and writing. " I don't think
that it will be any good to you. I think that it is more
likely to lead you into trouble. Miss Poynton is with
the Marquis and Marquise de St. Ethol. They are of
the first nobility in France. Their position as people
of honor and circumstance appears undoubted. But
nevertheless, if you are allowed to see her I shall be
The hall-porter approached them, hat in hand.
" A lady to see Monsieur," he announced to Andrew.
Andrew rose and took his companion's arm. He
scarcely glanced again towards Duncombe, who followed
them out of the room. And there in the hall awaiting
"*Vou are on the brink of making an idiot of yourself,'
A MAKER OF HISTORY 229
them was the young lady from Viemia, quietly dressed
in black, but unmistakable with her pretty hair and
perfumes. Buncombe watched them shake hands and
move away before he could recover sufficiently from his
first fit of surprise to intervene. Then a realization of
what had happened rushed in upon him. They, too,
then, had been to the Caf^ Montmartre, with their
obvious Anglicisms, their clumsy inquiries — to make
of themselves without doubt the jest of that little nest
of intriguers, and afterwards their tool. Buncombe
thought of the fruits of his own inquiries there, and
shivered. He hurried after the little party, who were
apparently on their way to the caf^.
" Andrew," he said, grasping him by the arm, " I must
speak with you alone — at once."
" I see no object in any further discussion between
us," Andrew said calmly.
" Bon't be a fool ! " Buncombe answered. " That
woman you are with is a spy. If you have anything
to do with her you are injuring Phyllis Poynton. She
is not here to give you information. She is at work for
her own ends."
" You are becoming more communicative, my friend,"
Andrew said, with something which was almost a
sneer. "You did not talk so freely a few minutes
back. It seems as though we were on the eve of a
" You are on the brink of making an idiot of your-
self," Buncombe answered quickly. " You were mad
to bring that blundering English detective over here.
What the French police cannot or do not choose to dis-
cover, do you suppose that they would allow an English-
man to find out — a stranger to Paris, and with an accent
230 A MAKER OF HISTORY
like that ? If I cannot keep you from folly by any
other means I must break my word to others. Come
back into the smoking-room with me, and I will teU
you why you are mad to have anything to do with that
"Thank you," Andrew answered, "I think not. I
have confidence in Mr. Lloyd, my friend here, and I have
none in you."
" I speak as I feel 1 "
"Leave me out of the question. It is Phyllis
Poynton you will harm. I see that your friend is
listening, and Mademoiselle is impatient. Make your
excuses for ten minutes, Andrew. You will never
The detective, who had evidently overheard every-
thing, stepped back to them.
" You will excuse my interfering, sir," he said, " but
if this case is to remain in my hands at all it is
necessary for me to hear all that Sir George Buncombe
has to say. The young lady will wait for a moment.
This case is difficult enough as it is, what with the
jealousy of the French police, who naturally don't
want us to find out what they can't. If Sir George
Buncombe has any information to give now," the
man added with emphasis, "which he withheld a few
minutes ago, I think that I ought to hear it from his
"I agree entirely with what Mr. Lloyd has said,"
Buncombe shrugged his shoulders. He looked around
him cautiously, but they were in a corner of the entresol,
and no one was within hearing distance.
A MAKER OF HISTOEY 231
" Very well," he said. " To save you from danger, and
Miss Poynton from further trouble, I am going to break
a confidence which has been reposed in me, and to
give you the benefit of my own surmises. In the first
place, Mr. Lloyd is mistaken in supposing that the
French police have been in the least puzzled by this
double disappearance. On the contrary, they are per-
fectly well aware of all the facts of the case, and could
have produced Miss Poynton or her brother at any
moment. They are working not for us, but against
" Indeed ! " Mr. Lloyd said in a tone of disbelief.
" And their object ? "
" Here is as much of the truth as I dare tell you,"
Buncombe said. " Guy Poynton whilst on the Conti-
nent became the chance possessor of an important State
secret. He was followed to France by spies from that
country — we will call it Germany — and the young
lady who awaits you so impatiently is, if not one of
them, at least one of their friends. At the Caf^ Mont-
martre he gave his secret away to people who are in
some measure allied with the secret service police of
France. He was kidnapped by them, and induced to
remain hidden by a trick. Meanwhile diplomacy makes
use of his information, and foreign spies look for him in
vain. His sister, when she came to search for him, was
simply an inconvenience which these people had not
contemplated. She was worked upon by fears concern-
ing her brother's safety to go into hiding. Both have
been well cared for, and the report of Guy's death is, I
firmly believe, nothing but an attempt to lull the anxie-
ties of the spies who are searching for him. This young
woman here may be able to tell you into whose hands
232 A MAKER OF HISTOEY
he has fallen, but you may take my word for it that
she is in greater need of information than you are, and
that she is an exceedingly dangerous person for you to
discuss the Poyntons with. There are the crude facts.
I have only known them a few hours myself, and there
is a good deal which I cannot explain. But this I
honestly and firmly believe. Neither you nor I nor Mr.
Lloyd here can do the slightest good by interfering in
this matter. For myself, I am leaving for England
Buncombe, like most honest men, expected to be be-
lieved. If he had entertained the slightest doubt about
it he would not have dared to open his mouth. The
silence that followed he could understand. No doubt
they were as amazed as he had been. But it was a dif-
ferent thing when he saw the expression on Andrew's
face as he turned to his companion.
" What do you think of this, Lloyd ? " he asked.
" I am afraid, sir," the man answered, " that some of
the clever ones have been imposing upon Sir George. It
generally turns out so when amateurs tackle a job like
Duncombe looked at him in astonishment.
" Do you mean to say that you don't believe me ? " he
" I would n't put it like that, sir," the man answered
with a deprecating smile. "I think you have been
misled by those who did not wish you to discover the
Duncombe turned sharply on his heeL
" And you, Andrew ? "
" I wish to do you justice," Andrew answered coldly,
" and I am willing to believe that you have faith your-
A MAKER OF niSTORY 233
self in the extraordinary story you have just told us.
But frankly I think that you have been too credulous."
Duncombe lost his temper. He turned on his heel,
and walked back into the hotel.
" You can go to the devil your own way I " he
SPENCER GETS HIS CHANCE
SPENCEK tried to rise from the sofa, but the effort
was too much for him. Pale and thin, with black
lines under his eyes, and bloodless lips, he seemed
scarcely more than the wreck of his former self.
His \isitor laid his stick and hat upon the table.
Then he bowed once more to Spencer, and stood looking
at him, leaning slightly against the table.
"I am permitted," he asked gently, "to introduce
" Quite unnecessary ! " Spencer answered.
The Baron shrugged his shoulders.
" You know me ? " he asked.
The shadow of a smile flitted across Spencer's face.
" By many names, Monsieur Louis," he answered.
His visitor smiled. Debonair in dress and deport-
ment, there seemed nothing to inspire alarm in the air of
gentle concern with which he regarded the man whom
he had come to visit. Yet Spencer cursed the languor
which had kept him from recovering the revolver which
an hour or more before had slipped from underneath his
"It saves trouble," Monsieur Louis said. "I come
to you, Monsieur Spencer, as a friend."
" You alarm me," Spencer murmured.
Monsieur Louis shrugged his shoulders.
A MAKER OF HISTORY 235
"You are pleased to be witty," he answered. "But
indeed I am no such terrible person. It is permitted
that I smoke?"
" Certainly," Spencer answered. " If you care for
wine or liqueurs pray ring for my servant. I can
assure you that it is not by my own will that you find
me so indifferent a host."
" I thank you," Monsieur Louis answered. " I think
that we will not ring the bell. It would be a pity to
disturb an interview to which I have looked forward
with so much pleasure."
" L affaire Poynton ? " Spencer suggested.
" Precisely 1 "
** You have perhaps come to complete the little affair
in which so far you have succeeded so admirably ? "
"Pray do not suggest such a thing," Monsieur Louis
answered deprecatingly. "For one thing I should not
personally run the risk. And for another have I not
already assured you that I come as a friend ? "
" It was then," Spencer answered, " that I began to
Monsieur Louis smiled. He drew a gold cigarette
case from his pocket, and calmly lit a cigarette.
" Since you permit, uion ami" he said. " Good ! I
speak better when I smoke. You are not so ill, I see,
but that you retain that charming sense of humor your
readers have learnt so well how to appreciate."
"The dose was scarcely strong enough," Spencer an-
swered. " Or perhaps by good fortune I stumbled upon
the proper antidote."
" I see that you like plain speaking," Monsieur Louis
continued with a gentle smile. " Permit me to assure
you then that the dose was quite as strong as we wished.
236 A MAKER OF HISTORY
Extremes are sometimes necessary, but we avoid them
" I wonder where it happened," Spencer said reflec-
tively. "I have been on my guard all the time. I
have watched my wine and coffee at the cafds, and
I have eaten only in the restaurants that I know."
Monsieur Louis did not seem to think the matter
"It was bound to happen," he said. "If you had
been like your friends — the English baronet and the
last two, who are even more amusing — perhaps it would
not have been necessary. But you understand — you
were beginning to discover things."
" Yes," Spencer admitted. " I was beginning to get
" Exactly ! We were forced to act. I can assure you.
Monsieur Spencer, that it was with reluctance. The
others of whom I have spoken — Sir George Buncombe,
Monsieur Pelham, and his toy detective — forgive me
that I smile — walk all the time in the palm of our
hand. But they remain unharmed. If by any chance
they should blunder into the knowledge of things which
might cause us annoyance, why, then — there would be
more invalids in Paris. Indeed, Monsieur, we do not
seek to abuse our power. My errand to you to-day is
one of mercy."
" You make me ashamed," Spencer said, with a
sarcasm which he took no pains to conceal, "of my
unworthy suspicions. To proceed."
"You have sent for Sir George Buncombe to come
and see you ! "
Spencer was silent for a moment. His own servant
unfaithful ? It was not possible.
A MAKER OF HISTORY 237
"Even you," the Baron continued, "have not yet
solved the mystery of Vaffaire Poynton. But you
know more than Sir George. Let me recommend that
you do not share your knowledge with him."
"If you do Sir George will at once share your
" I begin to understand," Spencer said.
" How otherwise ? Send Sir George home. You see
the delicacy of our position. It is not so much that we
fear Sir George Duncombe's interference, but he again is
followed and watched over by our enemies, who would
easily possess themselves of any information which he
" It is good reasoning," he admitted.
" Listen," Monsieur Louis continued. " I speak now
on behalf of my friends. You know whom I mean.
You have solved the mystery of our existence. We are
omnipotent. The police and the secret service police
and the Government itself are with us. We have li-
cense throughout the city. We may do what others
may not. For us there is no crime. I kill you now
perhaps. The police arrive. I am before the Commis-
sioner. I give him the sign — it is Vaffaire Poynton,
I go free ! It is a certain thing."
" Granted ! " Spencer said. " Proceed with your killing,
or your argument."
" With the latter, if you please," Monsieur Louis an-
swered. "I do not choose to kill. L' affaire Poyntouy
then. Harm is not meant to either of these young
people. That I assure you upon my honor. In three
238 A MAKER OF HISTORY
weeks, or say a month, we have finished. They may
return to their homes if they will. We have no further
interest in them. For those three weeks you must re-
main as you are — you, and if you have influence over
him, Sir George Buncombe. The other two fools we
have no care for. If they blundered into knowledge
— well, they must pay. They are not our concern,
yours and mine. For you, I bring you an offer, Mon-
" Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes ! " Spencer murmured.
Monsieur Louis smiled.
" My gift," he answered, " will not terrify you. You
are a journalist. I offer to make the fortune of your
paper. You shall be the first to announce an affair
of the greatest international importance since the war
between Ptussia and Japan was declared. No, I will
go further than that. It is the greatest event since
" L' affaire Poynton strikes so deep?" Spencer re-
"So deep," the Baron answered. ''It is the fools
who grope their way into great places. So did the boy
Poynton. You, my friend, shall be the one brilliant
exception. You shall make yourself the king of journal-
ists, and you shall be quoted down the century as hav-
ing achieved the greatest journalistic feat of modern
Spencer turned his drawn, haggard face towards his
visitor. A slight flush of color stained his cheek.
" You fascinate me," he said slowly. " I admit it.
You have found the weak spot in my armor. Proceed !
For whom do you speak ? "
Monsieur Louis abandoned his somewhat lounging
A MAKER OF HISTOEY 239
attitude. He stood by Spencer's side, and, leaning
down, whispered in his ear. Spencer's eyes grew
"Monsieur Louis," he said, "you play at a great
The Baron shrugged his shoulders.
" Me ! " he answered. " I am but a pawn. I do what
I am told."
" To return for a moment to V affaire Poynton"
Spencer said. " I am in the humor to trust you. Have
I then your assurance that the boy and girl do not
"Upon my own honor and the honor of the com-
pany to whom I belong," he answered with some show
of dignity. "It is a pledge which I have never yet
"I am a bribed man," Spencer answered.
. Monsieur Louis threw away his second cigarette. He
cast a look almost of admiration upon the man who still
lay stretched upon the couch.
" You are the only Englishman I ever met. Monsieur
Spencer," he said, " who was not pig-headed. You have
the tenacity of your countrymen, but you have the gen-
ius to pick out the right thread from the tangle, to know
truth when you meet it, even in unlikely places. I doff
my hat to you, Monsieur Spencer. If you permit I will
send my own physician to you. You will be yourself in
" You know the antidote ? " Spencer remarked grimly.
" Naturally ! Accidents will happen. You wish that
I should send him ? "
" Without doubt," Spencer answered. " I am weary of
240 A MAKER OF HISTORY
" You shall leave it in a week," Monsieur promised, as
he left the room.
Spencer closed his eyes. Already he felt coming on
the daily headache, which, with the terrible weakness,
was a part of his symptoms. But there was no rest for
him yet. Monsieur Louis had scarcely been gone five
minutes when Duncombe arrived.
Buncombe had had no word of his friend's illness.
He stood over his couch in shocked surprise.
" My dear fellow," he exclaimed. " I had no idea that
you were ill. This is why I have not heard from you,
Spencer smiled as he held out his hand, and Dun-
combe, who seemed to catch some meaning in the up-
raised eyebrows of his friend, was shocked.
" You mean ? " he exclaimed.
" V affaire Poynton'' he said gently, " A very subtle
dose of poison indeed, my friend. I shall not die, but I
have had my little lesson. Here the individual has little
chance. We fight against forces that are too many for
us. I told you so at the start."
** Yet I," Duncombe answered, "have not suffered."
" My friend," Spencer answered, " it is because I am
the more dangerous."
"You have discovered something?" Duncombe ex-
"I came near discovering a great deal," Spencer
answered. " Perhaps it would have been better for
my system if I had discovered a little less. As it is
I have finished with Vaffaire Poynton for the present.
You see how very nearly Vaffaire Poynton finished
A MAKER OF HISTORY 241
"It is not like you," Duncombe said thoughtfully,
"to give anything up."
" We come face to face sometimes with unique expe-
riences, which destroy precedent," Spencer answered.
"This is one of them."
"And what," Duncombe asked, "do you advise me
" Always the same advice," Spencer answered. " Leave
Paris to-day. Go straight back to Norfolk, read the
newspapers, and await events."
"Well, I think that I shall do so," Duncombe an-
swered slowly. " I have found out where Miss Poynton
is, but she will not see me. I have made an enemy of
my dearest friend, and I have, at any rate, interrupted
your career and endangered your life. Yes, I will go
"You may yet save your friend some — inconven-
ience," Spencer suggested. " Try to persuade him to go
back with you."
"He will not listen to me," Duncombe answered.
"He has brought an English detective with him, and
he is as obstinate as a mule. For myself I leave at
"You are well advised, exceedingly well advised,"
Spencer said. " Mind I do not take the responsibility
of sending you away without serious reasons. I honestly
believe that Miss Poynton is safe, whatever may have
happened to her brother, and I believe that you will
serve her best by your temporary absence."
Duncombe stood for a moment wrapped in thought.
The last few months had aged him strangely. The
strenuous days and nights of anxious thought had left
their mark in deep lines upon his face. He looked
242 A MAKER OF HISTORY
out of the window of Spencer's room, and his eyes saw
little of the busy street below. He was alone once
more with this strange, terrified girl upon the hillside,
with the wind in their faces, and makiug wild havoc
in her hair. He was with her in different moods in the
little room behind his library, when the natural joy
of her young life had for the moment reasserted itself.
He was with her at their parting. He saw half the
fearful regret with which she had left his care and
accepted the intervention of the Marquise. Stirring
times these had been for a man of his quiet temper-
ament, whom matters of sentiment and romance had
passed lightly by, and whose passions had never before
been touched by the finger of fire. And now he was
going back to an empty life — a life at least empty of
joy, save the hope of seeing her again. For good or for
evil, the great thing had found its way into his life.
His days of calm animal enjoyment were over. Sorrow
or joy was to be his. He had passed into the shadows
of the complex life.
He remembered where he was at last, and turned to
" About yourself, Spencer," he said. " Have you seen
" Yes. I am not seriously ill," his friend answered.
"The worst is over now. And, Buncombe, it's hard
for you to go, I know — but look here, I believe that
you will be back in a month, and taking Miss Poynton
to lunch chez Eitz. I never felt so sure of it as I do
Buncombe remembered the answer to his note, and
found it hard to share his friend's cheerfulness.
A POLITICAL INTERLUDE
DUNCOMBE laid down his cue and strolled towards
the sideboard, where his guest was already mixing
himself a whisky and soda.
" By the by, Eunton," he said, " have you seen any-
thing of our friend Von Eothe since that little affair at
your place ? "
Lord Eunton shook his head.
" Not once," he answered. " He behaved very decently
about it on the whole; treated it quite lightly — but
he would n't let me go near the police. It was a long
way the most unpleasant thing that ever happened in
"Never any further light upon it, I suppose?"
Lord Eunton shook his head.
" None. Of course we could have traced them both
without a doubt if we had put it in the hands of the
police, but Von Eothe wouldn't hear of it. He tried
to treat it lightly, but I know that he was very much
"Do you yourself believe," Buncombe asked, "that
it was a political affair or an ordinary robbery?'*
"I think that it was the former," Lord Eunton
answered. "Those people were not common adven-
turers. By the by, George, have you got over your
little weakness yet ? " he added with a smile.
244 A MAKER OF HISTORY
Duncombe shrugged his shoulders.
" Nearly made a fool of myself, did n't I ? " he re-
marked, with a levity which did not sound altogether
" She was an uncommonly fascinating young woman,"
Lord Kunton said, " but she did n't seem to me very old
at the game. She was clever enough to fool Von Rothe,
though. He admits that he told her that he was expect-
ing a special messenger from Berlin."
Duncombe seemed to have had enough of the subject.
He got up and filled his pipe.
" Is Jack coming down this week ? " he asked.
" No ! He wired this morning that he can't get away.
Sefton is n't coming, either. Between ourselves, George,
som.ething seems to be going on at the Foreign Office
which I don't understand."
*' What do you mean ? " Duncombe asked. " There has
been no hint at any sort of trouble in the papers."
" That 's just what I don't understand," Lord Runton
continued. " It is certain that there is an extraordinary
amount of activity at Portsmouth and Woolwich, but
even the little halfpenny sensational papers make no
more than a passing allusion to it. Then look at the
movements of our fleet. The whole of the Mediter-
ranean Fleet is at Gibraltar, and the Channel Squadron
is moving up the North Sea as though to join the Home
Division. All these movements are quite unusual."
" What do you make of them then ? " Duncombe
"I scarcely know," Lord Runton answered. "But
I can tell you this. There have been three Cabinet
Councils this week, and there is a curious air of appre-
hension in official circles in town, as though something
A MAKER OF HISTORY 245
were about to happen. The service clubs are almost
deserted, and I know for a fact that all leave in the
navy has been suspended. What I don't understand
is the silence everywhere. It looks to me as though
there were really going to be trouble. The Baltic Fleet
sailed this morning, you know."
" But," he said, " even if they were ill disposed to us,
as no doubt Russia is just now, what could they do ?
One squadron of our fleet could send them to the
" No doubt," Lord Runton answered. " But supposing
they found an ally ? "
"France will never go to war with us for Russia's
benefit," Buncombe declared.
"Granted," Lord Runton answered, "but have you
watched Germany's attitude lately ? "
" I can't say that I have," Buncombe admitted,
" but I should never look upon Germany as a war-
" No, I dare say not," Lord Runton answered. " Nor
would a great many other people. Every one is will-
ing to admit that she would like our Colonies, but
no one will believe that she has the courage to strike
a blow for them. I will tell you what I believe,
Buncombe. I believe that no Great Power has ever
before been in so dangerous a position as we are in
Buncombe sat up in his chair. The weariness
passed from his face, and he was distinctly interested.
Lord Runton, without being an ardent politician, was
a man of common-sense, and was closely connected
with more than one member of the Cabinet.
246 A MAKEE OF HISTOKY
" Are you serious, Eunton ? " he asked.
" Absolutely ! Eemember, I was in Berlin for two
years, and I had many opportunities of gaining an
insight into affairs there. What I can see coming
now I have ex^^ected for years. There are two great
factors which make for war. One is the character of
the Emperor himself, and the other the inevitable rot,
which must creep like a disease into a great army
kept always upon a war footing, through a decade or
more of inactivity. The Emperor is shrewd enough
to see this. Nothing can possibly exist at its best
which is not used for the purpose to which it owes its
existence. That is why we have this flood of literature
just now telling us of the gross abuses and general
rottenness of the German army. Another five years of
idleness, and Germany's position as the first military
nation will have passed away. Like every other great
power, it is rusting for want of use. The Emperor
Buncombe for many reasons was fascinated by
his friend's quiet words. Apart from their obvious
plausibility, they brought with them many startling
suggestions. Had chance, he wondered, really made
Phyllis Poynton and her brother pawns in the great
game ? He felt himself stirred to a rare emotion by
the flood of possibilities which swept in suddenly upon
him. Lord Eunton noted with surprise the signs of
growing excitement in his listener.
" Go on, Eunton. Anything else ? "
Lord Eimton helped himself to a cigarette, and
leaned across to light it.
" Of course," he continued, " I know that there are
a great many people who firmly believe that for com-
A MAKEE OF HISTORY 247
mercial reasons Germany would never seek a quarrel
with us. I will agree with them so far as to say
that I do not believe that a war with England would
be popular amongst the bourgeois of Germany. On
the other hand, they would be quite powerless to
prevent it. The Emperor and his ministers have the
affair in their own hands. A slight break in our
diplomatic relations, some trifle seized hold of by the
Press and magnified at once into an insult, and the war
torch is kindled. To-day war does not come about by
the slowly growing desire of nations. The threads of
fate are in the hands of a few diplomatists at Berlin
and London — a turn of the wrist, and there is tension
which a breath can turn either way. You ask me why
the Emperor should choose England for attack. There
are many reasons: first, because England alone could
repay him for the struggle; secondly, because he is
intensely and miserably jealous of our own King, who
has avoided all his own hot-headed errors, and has
yet played a great and individual part in the world's
affairs ; thirdly, because England is most easily at-
tacked. I could give you other reasons if you wanted
'' Quite enough," Buncombe answered. " What do
you suppose would be the casus belli ? "
" The progress of the Russian fleet through English
waters," Lord Runton answered promptly. "Russia's
interest in such a misunderstanding would be, of course,
immense. She has only to fire on an English ship, by
mistake of course, and the whole fat would be in the
fire. England probably would insist upon the squadron
being detained, Germany would protest against any such
248 A MAKEE OF IIISTOEY
action. We might very well be at war with Russia and
Germany within ten days. Eussia would immediately
either make terms with Japan, or abandon any active
operations in Manchuria and move upon India. Ger-
many would come for us."
" Is this all purely imagination ? " Buncombe asked,
"or have you anything to go on?"
" So far as I am concerned," Lord Eunton said slowly,
"I, of course, know nothing. But I have a strong
idea that the Government have at least a suspicion of
some secret understanding between Eussia and Ger-
many. Their preparations seem almost to suggest it.
Of course we outsiders can only guess, after all, at
what is going on, but it seems to me that there is
a chance to-day for our Government to achieve a diplo-
" In what direction ? "
" An alliance with France. Mind, I am afraid that
there are insurmountable obstacles, but if it were pos-
sible it would be checkmate to our friend the Emperor,
and he would have nothing left but to climb down.
The trouble is that in the absence of any definite proof
of an understanding between Eussia and Germany,
France could not break away from her alliance with
the former. Our present arrangement would ensure,
I believe, a benevolent neutrality, but an alliance, if
only it could be compassed, would be the greatest
diplomatic triumph of our days. Hullo ! Visitors
at this hour. Was n't that your front-door bell,
Duncombe ? "
" It sounded like it," Duncombe answered. " Perhaps
it is your man."
A MAKEK OF HISTOKY 249
" Like his cheek, if it is ! " Lord Eunton answered,
rising to his feet and strolling towards the sideboard.
"I told him I would telephone round to the stables
when I was ready. I suppose it is rather late, though
I sha'n't apologize for keeping you up."
" I hope you won't," Duncombe answered. " I have
never been more interested in my life — for many
reasons. Don't bother about your man. Groves will
see to him. Help yourself to another whisky and soda,
and come and sit down."
There was a knock at the door, and the butler
" There are three gentlemen outside, sir, who wish
to see you," he announced to Duncombe. " They will
not give their names, but they say that their business
is important, or they would not have troubled you so
Duncombe glanced at the clock. It was past mid-
" Three gentlemen," he repeated, " at this time of
night. But where on earth have they come from.
" They did not say, sir," the man answered. " One
of them I should judge to be a foreigner. They have
a motor car outside."
Lord Eunton held out his hand.
" Well, it 's time I was off, anyhow," he remarked.
"Come over and have lunch to-morrow. Don't bother
about me. I '11 stroll round to the stables and start from
there. Good night."
Duncombe hesitated. He was on the point of ask-
ing his friend to stay, but before he could make up his
mind Eunton had lit a cigarette and strolled away.
250 A MAKEK OF HISTOKY
"You can show the gentlemen in here, Groves,"
" Very good, sir."
The man disappeared. Duncombe, after a moment's
hesitation, crossed the room, and opening an oak cup-
board, slipped a small revolver into his pocket.
ONE of his three visitors Duncombe recognized im-
mediately. It was Monsieur Louis. Of the other
two one was a Frenchman, a somewhat sombre-looking
person, in a black beard and gold-rimmed eyeglasses,
the other as unmistakably an Englishman of the lower
middle class. His broad shoulders and somewhat stiff
bearing seemed to suggest some sort of drill. Look-
ing them over, Duncombe found himself instinctively
wondering whether the personal strength of these two,
which was obvious, might become a factor in the coming
The Baron naturally was spokesman. He bowed very
gravely to Duncombe, and did not offer his hand.
" I must apologize, Sir George," he said, "-for disturb-
ing you at such an inopportune hour. Our business,
however, made it necessary for us to reach you with as
little delay as possible."
" Perhaps you will be good enough to explain," Dun-
combe answered, " what that business is."
The Baron raised his hands with a little protesting
"I regret to tell you. Sir George," he announced,
"that it is of a most unpleasant nature. I could
wish that its execution had fallen into other hands.
My companions are Monsieur Eidalle, of the French
detective service, and our other friend here, whom I
252 A MAKEE OF HISTOEY
do not know, is a constable from the Xorwich Police
Court. My own connections with the police service
of my country you have already, without doubt,
" Go on," Buncombe said.
"I regret to say," Monsieur Louis continued, "that
my friends here are in charge of a warrant for your
arrest. You will find them possessed of all the legal
documents, French and English. We shall have to ask
you to come to Norwich with us to-night."
" Arrest ! " Duncombe repeated. " On what charge ? "
"An extremely serious one," the Baron answered
gravely. "The charge of murder!"
Duncombe stared at him in amazement.
" Murder ! " he repeated. " What rubbish ! "
" The murder of Mademoiselle de Mermillon in her
lodging on the night of the seventh of June last," the
Baron said gravely. "Please do not make any re-
marks before these men. The evidence against you is
already sufficiently strong."
Duncombe laughed derisively.
" WTiat sort of a puppet show is this ? " he exclaimed.
" You know as well as any man living how that poor
girl came to her end. This is a cover for something
else, of course. What do you want of me ? Let 's get
at it without wasting time."
"What we want of you is, I am afraid, only too
simple," the Baron answered, shrugging his shoulders.
"We must ask you to accompany us at once to Nor-
wich Castle. "You will have to appear before the
magistrates in the morning, when they will sign the
extradition warrant. Our friend here, Monsieur Kidalle,
will then take charge of you. Perhaps you would like
A MAKEK OF HISTOEY 253
to look through the documents. You will find them all
in perfect order."
Duncombe mechanically glanced through the French
and English papers which were spread out before him.
They had certainly a most uncomfortable appearance of
being genuine. He began to feel a little bewildered.
" You mean to say that you have come here to arrest
me on this charge ? That you want me to go away
with you to-night ? " he asked.
"It is not a matter of wanting you to come," the
Baron answered coldly. " It is a matter of necessity."
Duncombe moved towards the fireplace.
" Will you allow me the privilege of a few moments'
conversation with you in private ? " he said to the
Baron. " Your companions will perhaps excuse you for
The Baron followed without remark. They stood
facing one another upon the hearthrug. Duncombe
leaned one elbow upon the mantlepiece, and turned
towards his companion.
" Look here," he said, " those papers seem genuine
enough, and if you insist upon it I will go with you to
Norwich. I shall take care not to let you out of my
sight, and if when we get there I find that this is any
part of one of your confounded conspiracies you will
find that the penalties for this sort of thing in England
are pretty severe, However, no doubt you are well
aware of that. The question is this. What do you
really want from me ? "
Monsieur Louis, who had lit a cigarette, withdrew
it from his mouth and examined the lighted end for a
moment in silence.
" The documents," he said, " are genuine. You are
254 A MAKER OF HISTOEY
arraigned in perfectly legal fashion. Upon the affi-
davits there the magistrates must grant the extradition
warrant without hesitation. We have nothing to fear
in that direction."
"The police," Buncombe remarked, "are perfectly
aware of my innocence."
Monsieur shrugged his shoulders.
" The evidence," he said, " is remarkably convincing."
"Police-concocted evidence," Buncombe remarked,
"would necessarily be so. I admit that you hold a
strong card against me. I don't believe, however, that
you have gone to all this trouble without some ulterior
motive. What is it ? What can I offer you in exchange
for these documents ? "
Monsieur Louis smiled.
" You are a man of common-sense, Sir George," he
said. "I will speak to you without reserve. It is
possible that you might be able to offer the Govern-
ment department of my country to which I am attached
an inducement to interest themselves in your behalf.
Mind, I am not sure. But if my information is correct
there is certainly a possibility."
"The Government department of your country to
which you are attached," Buncombe repeated thought-
fully. " Let me understand you. You mean the secret
service police ? "
Monsieur Louis glanced a little nervously over his
" Never mind what I mean, Sir George," he said
quickly. "There are things which we do not speak
of openly. This much is sufficient. I represent a
power which can influence and direct even the criminal
courts of justice of France."
A MAKER OF HISTOEY 255
" What bribe have I to offer you ? " Duncombe asked.
" Information ? You know more than I do. I am
afraid you have been misled."
" I think not," Monsieur Louis said quickly. " I will
tell you what we want. A paper was left in your
charge by Miss Phyllis Poynton at the time she was
visiting at Eunton Place."
" What of it ? " Duncombe asked.
The Frenchman's face was suddenly tense with ex-
citement. He recovered himself almost at once, but his
voice shook, and a new earnestness found its way into
" Miss Poynton and her brother are with us," he said.
" It is we who have been their benefactors. You know
a good deal of their peculiar circumstances. A sudden
need has arisen for the production of that paper within
twenty-four hours. Give it to me now, and I will run
the greatest risk I have ever run in my career. I will
tear those warrants through."
"Have you any authority from Miss Poynton?"
"There was no time to procure it," Monsieur Louis
explained. " Events march rapidly to-day. To be
effective that paper must be in Paris to-morrow. The
necessity for its production arose only a few hours
"You ask me, then," Duncombe said slowly, "to
hand over to you a paper which was placed in my
charge by Miss Poynton?"
"In effect — yes!"
« I cannot do it ! "
Monsieur Louis shrugged his shoulders.
" I do not insist," he remarked. " I may be permitted
256 A MAKEE OF HISTORY
to remind you, however, that I have offered a great
" Perhaps ! " Duncombe answered quietly.
Monsieur Louis turned to his assistants.
" Sir George Duncombe will accompany us," he said.
" I can give you ten minutes. Sir George," he added, " in
case you care to change your clothes."
" And supposing I refuse to come ? " Duncombe
Monsieur Louis smiled.
"You would scarcely be so foolish," he remarked.
"In that case I should send the policeman here to
the nearest station with the warrants and a demand
for help. Our documents are in perfect order, and
our case complete. You would scarcely be so foolish,
I think, as to set yourself in direct opposition to the
law ! "
Duncombe was silent for several moments. Then he
rang the bell. Monsieur Louis looked at him inquir-
ingly, but before he could frame a question the butler
was in the room.
" Pack my things for a week, Groves," Duncombe
ordered. " I am going away to-night."
The man bowed arid withdrew. Monsieur Louis
merely shrugged his shoulders.
" A week ! " he remarked. " You will be fortunate if
you ever see your home again. Come, Sir George, be
reasonable ! I give you my word of honor that it is
altogether to the interest of Miss Poynton that those
papers be immediately produced. If she were here
herself she would place them in my hands without a
" Possibly J " Duncombe answered. " Suppositions,
A MAKEE OF HISTOET 257
however, do not interest me. I undertook the charge of
what she gave me, and I shall fulfil my trust."
Monsieur Louis turned to the policeman.
" Officer," he said, " this is Sir George Duncombe. Do
The man stepped forward and laid his hand upon Sir
" Very sorry, sir," he said. " I am forced to arrest you
on this warrant for the murder of Florence Mermillon
on the night of the seventh of June. You will be
brought before the magistrates at Norwich to-morrow."
Duncombe waved his hand towards the sideboard.
" If you gentlemen," he remarked, " would care for a
little refreshment before you start ? "
"It is against the rules, sir, thank you," the man
answered. " I should be glad to get away as soon as
Duncombe filled both his pockets with cigars and
cigarettes. Then he turned towards the door.
" I am quite ready," he said.
They followed him out. There was a few minutes'
delay waiting for Duncombe's bag.
" Your address, Sir George ? " Groves inquired, as he
brought it down.
" A little doubtful," Duncombe answered. " I will
"In front, please, Sir George," Monsieur Louis in-
So they drove off, Duncombe in the front seat, the
other three behind. The car gathered speed rapidly. In
less than an hour they were half-way to Norwich. Then
suddenly the driver took a sharp corner and turned down
a long desolate lane.
258 A MAKEE OF IIISTOEY
" You 're off the main road," Duncombe explained.
" You should have kept straight on for Norwich."
The man took no notice. He even increased his
speed. Duncombe was in the act of turning round when
he felt the sudden swish of a wet cloth upon his face.
He tried to break away, but he was held from behind as
in a vise. Then his head fell back, and he remembered
THE CHECKMATING OF MONSIEUR LOUIS
AT three o'clock in the morning Groves, in a dis-
J\ carded di-essing-gown of his master's, opened the
front door and peered cautiously out into the darkness.
Monsieur Louis, who was standing upon the door-step,
pushed past him into the hall.
" Your master has sent me back to fetch some papers,"
he announced, displaying a bunch of keys. " I am sorry
to disturb you like this, but the matter is important.
Please bring me a cup of coffee into the library in
half an hour."
Groves, who was sorely perplexed, stood with his back
to the door which Monsieur Louis had approached.
" Eeally, sir," he answered, " I scarcely know what to
say. I am afraid that I cannot allow you to interfere
with any of my master's property in his absence."
Monsieur Louis held out the keys.
" Quite right 1 " he said. " It is an awkward situation,
of course. Your master did not tell you the reason of
his sudden departure, I suppose ? "
" Not a word, sir."
" There can be no harm in telling you this much, at
any rate," Monsieur Louis continued smoothly. " Your
master, through no fault of his own, got mixed
up in a very unpleasant affair in Paris, and he
will have to appear in the courts there. I am his
friend, and wish to do all that I can to help him. We
260 A MAKEK OF HISTOEY
have been talking the matter over, and I have strongly
advised him to produce some papers which I think
will help him materially. The police officer in whose
charge he is would not allow him to return, so he handed
me his keys and asked me to fetch them. I can
assure you that I am your master's friend, and wish
to do all that I can to help him. If he had not trusted
me he would not have given me his keys, which no
doubt you recognize."
Groves reluctantly stood on one side.
" I suppose I must let you in, sir," he said, " but I
wish that the master had sent me a line."
" We had neither pencil nor paper," Monsieur Louis
said, " and the affair was urgent. I must be back
in Norwich by eight o'clock."
" I will prepare the coffee, sir," Groves said, turning
away. " If you require more light the switches are
behind the door."
" Very good," Monsieur Louis said. " You need
not have the slightest anxiety. I am here on your
Groves hesitated, and looked for a moment curiously
around the room. He seemed as though he had
something else to say, but checked himself at the last
moment and withdrew. Monsieur Louis drew a little
breath of relief.
He did not immediately proceed to work. He
threw off his overcoat and lit a cigarette. His fingers
were steady enough, but he was conscious of an
unwonted sense of excitement. He was face to face
with destiny. He had played before for great stakes,
but never such as these. A single false step, an evil
turn in the wheel of fortune, spelt death — and he was
His hands shook, his teeth chattered."
A MAKER OF HISTORY 261
afraid to die. He moved to the sideboard. Every-
thing there was as they had left it. He poured out
some brandy and drank it off.
With fresh courage he moved to the safe, which
stood in the corner of the room. It must be there, if
anywhere, that this precious document lay. He tried
his keys one by one. At last he found the right one.
The gi'eat door swung slowly open.
He was spared all anxiety. There, on the top of a
pile of legal-looking documents, leases, title-deeds, and
the like, was a long envelope, and across it in Dun-
combe's sprawling writing these few words : —
" Entrusted to me by Miss Poynton. — Sept. 4th."
He gi'asped it in his fingers and tore open the enve-
lope. As he read the single page of closely written
writing his eyes seemed almost to protrude. He gave
a little gasp. No wonder there were those who reck-
oned this single page of manuscript worth a- gi-eat for-
tune. Every sentence, every word told its own stor}\
It was a page of the world's history.
Then a strange thing happened. Some part of him
rebelled against the instinct which prompted him
carefully to fold and place in his breast-pocket this
wonderful find of his. His nerves seemed suddenly
frozen in his body. There was a curious numb sen-
sation at the back of his neck which forbade him to
turn round. His hands shook, his teeth chattered.
The sweat of death was upon his forehead and despair
in his heart. He had heard nothing, seen nothing ; yet
he knew that he was no longer alone.
^\Tien at last he turned round he turned his whole
body. The muscles of his neck were numbed still
his knees shook, and his face was ghastly. Monsieur
262 A MAKER OF HISTORY
Louis of the Cafd Montmartre, brave of tongue and
gallant of bearing, had suddenly collapsed. Monsieur
Louis, the drug-sodden degenerate of a family whose
nobles had made gay the scaffolds of the Place de la
R^publique, cowered in his place.
It was the worst upon which he looked with chat-
tering teeth, but without surprise. The door of the
inner room was open, and upon the threshold stood
Toquet, small, dark, and saturnine — Toquet, with
something which glittered in his hand, so that Mon-
sieur Louis, already the prey of a diseased and ghastly
imagination, felt the pain of the bullet in his heart.
On an easy-chair by the fireside Henri de Ber-
gillac was lounging, with a queer smile upon his
"My friend," he said quietly, though the scorn
which underlay his words seemed to bite the air,
" you have solved for us a double problem : first,
how to account for the absence of our host; and
secondly, how to open that very formidable-looking
safe. You will be so good as to place upon the table
that document which you hold in your hands."
For a single second Monsieur Louis hesitated. Some
lingering vestige of a courage, purely hereditary,
showed him in one lightning-like flash how at
least he might carry with him to a swift grave some
vestige of his ruined self-respect. A traitor to his old
friends, he might keep faith with the new. He had
time to destroy. Even the agonies of death might
last long enough to complete the task. But the
impulse was only momentary. He shuddered afresh
at the thought that he might have yielded to it. He
threw it upon the table.
A MAKER OF HISTORY 263
The Vicomte rose to his feet, glanced through the
closely written page with something of the same ex-
citement which had inspired its recent possessor, and
carefully buttoned it up in his breast-pocket. Then
he turned once more to the man who stood before them
broken and trembling.
" Louis," he said, " you are the first traitor whom
our society has hatched. I look upon you with curi-
osity as a thing I once called my friend. What im-
becility prompted you to this ? "
Monsieur Louis found nerve to shrug his shoulders.
'' A million francs ! " he answered.
" Heavens, but what folly ! " the Vicomte mur-
mured. " Did we not all know that a German was in
Paris who offered a million, or two million francs
for the missing page of that treaty ? Do you think
that he was not watched day and night ? Bah ! I
have no patience to talk of this. What have you
done with our host ? "
" Arrested him for — Flossie ! He is in a ditch half-
way to Norwich."
« No ! Chloroformed."
" How did you get here ? "
" In an automobile from Lynn ! "
« Good ! It waits for you ? "
" We will take it. My good friend here, Toquet,
is familiar with the neighborhood. As Mr. Fielding,
the American millionaire, you learned the excellence
of these roads for quick travelling, did you not, mon
ami ? So ! "
** You leave me here ? " Monsieur Louis faltered.
264 A MAKER OF HISTOEY
*' Ay, to rot if you will ! " the Vicomte answered with
" I will atone," Monsieur Louis faltered. " It was a
single false step."
De Bergillac looked down upon him with unspeakable
" Atone ! Listen, Louis ! In this country you are
safe. Crawl away into some hiding-place and make
what you will of the rest of your days, but I will prom-
ise you this. If ever you set your feet upon one inch
of France you shall meet with your deserts. There are
many things which those who play the great game must
pardon, but there is one crime for which no atonement
is possible, and you have committed it. You are a
traitor ! "
De Bergillac turned away. The effeminacy of his
manner seemed to have disappeared under the strain
of his extreme anger. It was his race, after all, which
had asserted itself. And then the door was thrown
suddenly open and a wild-looking figure confronted
It was Buncombe, muddy from head to foot, pale
and with a slight wound upon the temple, from which
the blood had trickled down his face. He saw the
open safe, and Monsieur Louis a pitiful figure, and
he did not hesitate. He scarcely glanced at the
others. He strode forward and seized the Baron by the
"Give me back what you have stolen, you black-
guard 1 " he exclaimed.
Monsieur Louis was breathless. It was the young
Vicomte who interposed.
" Om* friend," he remarked suavely, " has not been
A MAKER OF IIISTOEY 265
successful in his little effort. The document he came
to purloin is in my pocket, and here, Sir George, is my
warrant for retaining possession of it."
He held out a note which Buncombe took and read
with a little sigh of relief.
"Good!" he exclaimed. "You have the docu-
ment ? "
De Bergillac tapped his breast-pocket.
" It is here," he said.
Buncombe turned to Monsieur Louis.
"My arrest, then," he remarked, "was part of the
game ? "
"Exactly!" De Bergillac answered. "This little
document entrusted to your care by the young English
lady was worth one million francs to the man who
suborned our friend here. It was worth while — this
little enterprise. The pity of it is that it has failed.
Sir George, I go to Paris to-night. I offer you a safe
conduct if you care to accompany me. L affaire Poyntoii
does not exist any more."
" Can you give me ten minutes to change my clothes ? "
Buncombe asked eagerly.
" No more," Be Bergillac answered. " I will get rid
of our friend here."
There was a knock at the door. Groves entered with
coffee. At the sight of his master he nearly di'opped
" It 's all right," Buncombe said, smiling. " We had
a little spill, and I 've lost my bag. Pack me some more
" Very good, sit-," Groves answered, and withdrew
Be Bergillac laid his hand upon Buncombe's arm.
266 A MAKER OF HISTOEY
"There is only one thing, my friend," he said. "I
trust that it is Mr. Guy Poynton who is your friend,
and not his beautiful sister ? Eh ? I am answered !
The misfortune ! Never mind ! I will drink my cofi'ee
to les beaux yeux des autres!"
THE MAKING OF HISTORY
THEEE men were the sole occupants of the great
room whose windows looked out upon the
The table around which they were seated was strewn
with papers and maps. The door of the room was
locked, and a sentry stood outside in the passage. The
three men were busy making history.
The man who occupied the seat at the head of the
table was the Monsieur Grisson to whom Guy Poynton,
at the instigation of the Due de Bergillac, had told his
story. It was he who was spokesman.
" The situation," he said, " is one which bristles with
difficulties. We will assume for a moment the truth
of what we have certainly reasonable ground to believe.
Eussia has shown every sign of disappointment with us
for our general attitude during the war. Our under-
standing with England has provoked a vigorous though
unofficial protest from her representatives here. Since
then our relations have become to a certain extent
strained. Germany, ever on the look-out for compli-
cations which might lead to her own advantage, steps
in. Her attitude towards Eussia is changed to one
of open and profound sympathy. Eussia, in her des-
perate straits, rises like a starvmg fish to a fat fly.
Here it is that our secret service steps in."
268 A MAKEE OF HISTOEY
" Our secret service — and her allies," one of the
other men murmured.
" Exactly ! We pass now to the consideration of
facts which need one thing only to justify our course
of action. Evidence is brought to us that a secret
meeting took place between the Czar of Kussia and
the Emperor of Germany. Erom all the information
which we have collected that meeting was possible.
I personally believe that it took place. A treaty is
said to have been drawn up between them, having for
its object the embroilment of England with Eussia, and
an alliance of Germany with Eussia so far as regards
her quarrel with England. We know that Germany
is secretly mobilizing men and ships. We know that
the ambition of the Emperor is to possess himself
of the Colonies of Great Britain, if not actually to
hold his court in London. We know that his jeal-
ousy of King Edward amounts to a disease. We
know that he is a man of daring and violent temper,
with an indomitable will and an unflinching belief in
his own infallibility and the infallibility of his army and
navy. We know that he has at least a dozen schemes
for a sudden attack upon England, and mighty though
the navy of Great Britain is, it is not in our opinion
strong enough to protect her shore from the combined
Baltic and German fleets and also protect her Colonies.
England, through our friendship, has been warned.
She proposes with most flattering alacrity the only
possible counter-stroke — an alliance with ourselves.
We must decide within twelve hours. The treaty lies
upon my desk there. Upon us must rest the most
momentous decision which any Frenchman within our
A MAKER OF HISTORY 269
recollection has been called upon to make. What have
you to say, gentlemen ? "
There was a short silence. Then the man who sat
at Monsieur Grisson's right hand spoke.
" The issues before us," he said slowly, " are
appalling. Every Frenchman's blood must boil at the
thought of Germany greedily helping herself to the
mighty wealth and power of Great Britain — becoming
by this single master-stroke the strongest nation on
earth, able to dictate even to us, and to send her word
unchallenged throughout the world. It is a hideous
picture I It must mean the abandonment forever of
the hope of every true Frenchman. Every minute
will become a menace to us. Wilhelm, the arrogant,
with British gold and British ships at his back, will
never forget to flaunt himself before us to our eternal
"You are taking it for granted," his neighbor re-
marked, " that Germany will be successful."
" The odds are in her favor," was the quiet reply.
" The navy of Great Britain is immense, but her sea
front, so to speak, is enormous. She is open to be the
prey of a sudden swift attack, and the moment has
never been more favorable."
" Let all these things be granted," the third man
said. " Even then, are we free to enter into this
alliance with England ? Our treaty with Eussia re-
mains. We have no proof that she has broken faith
with us. If this secret treaty between Eussia and
Germany really exists, it is, of course, another matter.
But does it? We have nothing but the word of an
English boy. The rest is all assumption. The whole
270 A MAKEE OF HISTOEY
affair might be a nightmare. "VVe might sign this
treaty with England, and find afterwards that we
had been the victim of a trick. We should be
perjured before the face of all Europe, and our great
financial interest in-Eussia would at once be placed
in a perilous position."
A telephone upon the table rang softly. Monsieur
Grisson held the receiver to his ear and listened. Then
he rose to his feet.
"Count von Munchen desires a word with me," he
annoimced. " He pledges himself not to keep me more
than five minutes. I had better receive him. Ex-
cuse me, gentlemen."
The two men were left alone. The elder and stouter
of the two busied himself with an inch rule and an
atlas. He seemed to be making calculations as to the
distance between Cherbourg and a certain spot in the
" WTiat is the chief's own mind ? " his companion
asked. " Does any one know ? "
The other shook his head.
" ^Yh.o can say ? Our ties of friendship with Eng-
land are too recent to make this a matter of sentiment.
I believe that without proof he fears to accept this
statement. And yet above all things he fears Germany.
There was some talk of a missing page of the actual
treaty between Eussia and Germany. If this could be
found I believe that he would sign the draft treaty,"
"I myself," the other said, "do not believe that
England would be so easily overpowered."
" It is the suddenness and treachery of the attack
which counts so greatly in its favor," his companion
said. " It might be all over in two days before she
A MAKER OF HISTOEY 271
could assemble a fifth part of her forces. If our in-
formation is correct Germany has men enough mo-
bilized to run huge risks. Besides, you know-
how Lafarge's report ran, and what he said. The
German army is beginning to suffer from a sort of dry
rot, as must all institutions which fulfil a different
purpose than that for which they exist. The Emperor
knows it. If war does not come Germany will have
to face severe military troubles."
" I myself am for the alliance ! "
" And I," the other replied, " if proof of this Ger-
mano-Eussian understanding could be produced."
Monsieur Grisson returned. He carefully closed and
locked the door behind him.
" Gentlemen," he said, " the German Ambassador has
just left me. His mission in every way confirms our
secret information. He has been instructed to inquire
as to our attitude in the event of any British interference
with the Baltic Fleet while in home waters."
The two men looked up expectantly. Monsieur Gris-
son continued : —
" I replied that it was a contingency which we scarcely
thought it worth while to consider. I expressed
my firm belief that England would observe all the
conventions, written and understood, of international
"He was not satisfied, of course. He declared that
he had certain information that England was making
definite plans with a view to ensure the delay of the
fleet. He went on to say that Germany was deter-
mined not to tolerate any such thing, and he concludes
that we, as Eussia's ally, would at any rate remain
272 A MAKER OF HISTORY
neutral should Germany think it her duty to inter-
" And your reply ? "
" I answered that in the event of untoward happenings
France would act as her honor dictated — remaining
always mindful of the obligations of her alliance. He
was quite satisfied."
" He had no suspicion of this ? " the young man asked,
touching the treaty with his forefinger.
" None, It is believed in Germany that the young
Englishman was reallv found drowned in the Seine
after a short career of dissipation. Our friends served
us well here. Now, gentlemen, the English Ambas-
sador will be here in twenty minutes. "VMiat am I to
say to him ? Do we sign this draft agreement or do
we not ? "
There was a silence which lasted nearly a minute.
Then the younger of the two men spoke.
" Sir," he said respectfully, '' without some proof of
Ptussia's falsity I cannot see how in honor we can de-
part from our treaty obligations with her to the extent
of signing an agreement with her putative enemy.
England must fight her own battle, and God help
" And you ? " Monsieur Grisson asked, turning to the
" I agree," was the regretful answer. '*' If this treach-
erous scheme is carried out I believe that France will
be face to face with the greatest crisis she has known
in history. Even then I dare not suggest that we
court dishonor by breaking an alliance with a friend in
" You are right, gentlemen," Monsieur Grisson said
A MAKER OF HISTOEY 273
with a sigh. ** We must tell Lord Fothergill that our
relations with his country must remain unfettered.
Again the telephone bell rang. Monsieur Grisson
listened, and replied with a sudden return to his old
briskness of manner.
" It is young De Bergillac," he announced. " He has
been in England in search of that missing page of the
treaty. I have told them to show him in."
The Vicomte entered, paler than ever from recent
travel, and deeply humiliated from the fact that
there was a smut upon his collar which he had
had no time to remove. He presented a paper to
Monsieur Grisson and bowed. The President spread
it out upon the table, and the faces of the three men
as they read became a study. Monsieur Grisson rang
" Monsieur le Due de Bergillac and a young Eng-
lish gentleman," he told the attendant, " are in my
private retiring-room. Desire their presence."
The servant withdrew. The three men looked at one
" If this is genuine ! " the younger murmured.
"It is the Eussian official paper," his vis-a-vis de-
clared, holding it up to the light,
Then the Due de Bergillac and Guy Poynton were
ushered lq. Monsieur Grisson rose to his feet.
" Monsieur Poynton," he said, " we have all three
heard your story as to what you witnessed in the
forest of Pozen. It is part of your allegation that
a page of writing from the private car which you
were watching was blown to your feet, and that you
picked it up and brought it to Paris with you. Look
274 A MAKEE OF HISTORY
at this sheet of paper carefully. Tell me if it is the
Guy glanced at it for a moment, and handed it back.
" It is certainly the one," he answered. " If you look
at the back you will see my initials there and the
Monsieur Grisson turned it over quickly. The two
other men looked over his shoulder, and one of them
gave a little exclamation. The initials and date were
Then Monsieur Grisson turned once more to Guy.
He was not a tall man, but he had dignity, and his
presence was impressive. He spoke very slowly.
" Monsieur Guy Poynton," he said, " it is not often
that so great an issue — that the very destinies of two
great countries must rest upon the simple and uncor-
roborated story of one man. Yet that is the position in
which we stand to-day, Do not think that you are
being treated with distrust. I speak to you not on be-
half of myself, but for the millions of human beings
whose welfare is my care, and for those other millions
of your own country^men, whose interests must be yours.
I ask you solemnly — is this story of yours word for
word a true one ? "
Guy looked him in the face resolutely, and answered
" On my honor as an Englishman," he declared, " it is
true I "
Monsieur Grisson held out his hand.
"Thank you! "he said.
The three men were again alone. The man who
controlled the destinies of Erance dipped his pen in
A MAKEE OF HISTORY 275
,. " Gentlemen," he said, " do you agree with me that I
shall sign this draft ? "
" We do 1 " they both answered.
The President signed his name. Then he tm:ned the
handle of the telephone.
" You may show Lord Fothergill in I " he ordered.
AN OLD FRIEND
IT was perhaps as well for Andrew Pelham that he
could not see Phyllis' look as she entered the room.
An English gentleman, she had been told, was waiting
to see her, and she had thought of no one but Dun-
combe. It was true that she had sent him away, but
only an hour ago the Marquise had told her that her
emancipation was close at hand. He too might have
had a hint ! The little smile, however, died away from
her lips as she saw who was waiting for her with
such manifest impatience.
" You, Andrew ! " she exclaimed in amazement.
" Why, however did you find me out ? "
He took both her hands in his. The look upon his
face was transfiguring.
"At last! At last!" he exclaimed. "Never mind
how I found you ! Tell me, what does it all mean ?
Are you here of your own free will ? "
" Absolutely ! " she answered.
" It was you at Eunton ? "
" Under a false name — with a man who committed
robbery ! "
She shrugged her shoulders a little wearily.
" My dear Andrew ! " she said, " I will admit that
I have been doing all manner of incomprehensible
A MAKER OF HISTORY 277
things. I could n't explain everything. It would take
too long. What I did, I did for Guy's sake, and of my
own free will. It will be all over in a day or two now,
and we shall be coming back to Raynesworth. Then I
will tell you tales of our adventures which will make
your hair stand on end."
" It is n't true about Guy, then ? " he exclaimed.
She hesitated for a moment.
"Andrew," she said, "I cannot tell you anything.
It must sound rather horrid of me, but I cannot help
it. I want you to go away. In a day or two I will
He looked at her in pained bewilderment.
'•' But, Phyllis," he protested, " I am one of your oldest
friends 1 You ask me to go away and leave you here
with strangers, without a word of explanation. Why,
I have been weeks searching for you."
" Andrew," she said, " I know it. I don't want to
be unkind. I don't want you to think that I have
forgotten that you are, as you say, one of my oldest
friends. But there are times when one's friends are a
source of danger rather than pleasure. Frankly, this
is one of them."
His face darkened. He looked slowly around the
magnificent room. He saw little, but what he could
distinguish was impressive.
"Your riddles," he said gravely, "are hard to read.
You want me to go away and leave you h^re."
" You must," she said firmly.
" Did you treat Duncombe like this ? " he asked in a
blind fit of jealousy.
" You have not the right to ask me such a question,"
she answered coldly.
278 A MAKER OF HISTOEY
"Not the right! Not the right!" he repeated.
" Who else has, then ? Have n't I watched you grow
from a beautiful, capricious child into the woman you
are ? Have n't I taught you, played with you, done
your bidding blindly ever since you came into your
kingdom ? Have n't I felt the pain and the joy of
you in my heart ? Who else has a better right, then ?
Buncombe, who came here, a stranger to you — or is
it one of your new friends ? "
She came close to him, and laid her hand upon his
" Don't be foolish, Andrew ! " she said softly.
His whole expression changed. The bitterness left
" Ah, Phyllis ! " he said. " That is more like your-
" And I want you," she said, " to be like your old self.
You have always been my best friend, Andrew. I hope
you will always be that."
He tried to look into her face. It seemed to him
that there was a little unnecessary emphasis in her
" I am not a child now, you know," she continued.
" I am quite old enough to take care of myself. You
must believe that, Andrew. You must go away, and
not worry about me. You will do this, please, because
I ask you ! "
" If I must," he said reluctantly. " I will go away,
but not to worry about you — that is impossible. You
seem to be surrounded by all the mediaeval terrors
which confronted the emancipation of princesses in
our fairy books. Only a short time ago Duncombe
implored me to follow his example, and leave you and
A MAKER OF HISTOEY 279
Paris alone. The detective whom I brought with me
has been shadowed ever since we left Paris. Last night
he left me for a few hours, and this morning comes a
note from the hospital. He is lying there with the
back of his head beaten in — garotters, of course, the
police say, looking for plunder. How can you ask me
to be easy in my mind about you ? "
She smiled reassuringly.
" No harm will come to me here, I can promise you,"
she said. " It is you who run the most risk if you
only knew it. Sir George Duncombe gave you the
best advice when he tried to get you to return to
*• I cannot leave Lloyd now until he has recovered,"
Andrew answered. *•' Tell me, Phyllis, has Duncombe
found you out ? Has he been here ? "
" Yes," she answered. " I sent him away — as I am
"Has he ever told you," Andrew asked, "why he
was willing in the first instance to come to Paris in
search of you?"
"No," she answered. "Wasn't it because he was
your friend ? "
He shook his head.
"It is his affair, not mine," he said with a sigh.
" Ask him some day."
" You won't tell me, Andrew ? "
" No ! I will go now ! You know where to send for
me if you should need help. I can find my way down,
thank you. I have a guide from the hotel outside."
The Marquise swept into the room as he passed
out, an impression of ermine and laces and per-
280 A MAKEE OF IIISTOEY
" Another of your English lovers, ma telle / " she
" Scarcely that," Phyllis answered. " He is a very old
friend, and he was rather hard to get rid of."
" I think," the Marquise said, " you would get rid of
all very willingly for the sake of one, eh ? "
The Marquise stared insolently into the girl's face.
Phyllis only laughed.
" One is usually considered the ideal number — in our
country," she remarked demurely.
" But the one ? " the Marquise continued. " He
would not be one of these cold, heavy countrymen
of yours, no ? You have learnt better perhaps over
It was a cross-examination, but Phyllis could not
imagine its drift.
" I have not had very much opportunity over here,
have I, to amend my ideals ? " she asked. " I think the
only two Frenchmen I have met are the Marquis and
that languid young man with the green tie, the Vicomte
de Bergillac, was n't it ? "
The Marquise watched her charge closely.
" Well," she said, " he is comme il faut, is he not ?
You find him more elegant, more chic than your Eng-
lishmen, eh ? "
Phyllis shook her head regretfully.
"To me," she admitted, "he seemed like an exceed-
ingly precocious spoilt child ! "
" He is twenty-three," the Marquise declared.
Phyllis laughed softly.
"Well," she said, "I do not think that I shall
amend my ideals for the sake of the Vicomte de
Bergillac ! "
A MAKER OF niSTOEY 281
The Marquise looked at her doubtfully.
"Tell me, child," she said, "you mean, then, that of
the two — your English Sir George Buncombe and Henri
— you would prefer Sir George ? "
Phyllis looked at her with twinkling eyes.
" You would really like to know ? " she asked.
" Sir George Buncombe — infinitely ! "
The Marquise seemed to have recovered her good
" Come, little one," she said, " you lose color in the
house. I will take you for a drive ! "
Andrew, conscious that he was being followed, sat
down outside a caf^ on his way homewards, and bade his
guide leave him for a little time. Instantly there was
the soft rustle of feminine skirts by his side, and a
woman seated herself on the next chair.
" Monsieur has not been up to the Caf^ Montmartre
lately ! "
Pelham turned his head. It was the young lady from
" No ! " he answered. " I have not been there since I
had the pleasure of seeing Mademoiselle ! "
" Monsieur has discovered all that he wanted to
know ? "
He nodded a little wearily.
" Yes, I thmk so ! "
She drew her chair quite close to his. The sable
of her turban hat almost brushed his cheek, and the
perfume of the violets at her bosom was strong in his
*' Monsieur has seen the young lady ? '*
282 A MAKEE OF HISTOEY
" I have seen her," he answered.
"Monsieur is indebted to me," she said softly, "for
some information. Let me ask him one question. Is
it true, this story in the newspapers, of the finding of
this young man's body ? Is Monsieur Guy Poynton
really dead ? "
" I know no more than we all read in the newspapers,"
" His sister spoke of him as dead ? " she asked.
"I cannot discuss this matter with you. Mademoi-
selle," he answered.
" Monsieur is ungrateful," she declared with a little
grimace. " It is only that which I desire to know. He
was such a heau gargon, that young Englishman. You
will tell me that ? " she whispered.
He shook his head.
" Mademoiselle will excuse me," he said. " I am
going to take a carriage to my hotel ! "
" It is on the way to leave me at my rooms, if you
will be so kind," she suggested, laying her hand upon
" Mademoiselle will excuse me," he answered, turning
away. " Good afternoon."
Mademoiselle also took a carriage, and drove to a
large house at the top of the Champs Elys^es. She was
at once admitted, and passed with the air of one familiar
with the place into a small room at the back of the
house, where a man was sitting at a table writing. He
looked up as she entered.
She threw herself into a chair.
"I have been following the Englishman, Pelham,
A lyLiKEK OF HISTOEY 283
all day," she said in German. "He has seen Miss
Poynton. I have talked with him since at a cafd, but
he would tell me nothing. He has evidently been
The man grumbled as he resumed his writing.
"That fact alone should be enough for us," he re-
marked. "If there is anything to conceal we can
guess what it is. These amateurs who are in league
with the secret service are the devil ! I would as soon
resign. What with them and the regular secret service,
Paris is an impossible city for us. Where we would
watch we are watched ourselves. The streets and caf^s
bristle with spies ! I do not wonder that you find suc-
cess so difficult, Mademoiselle ! "
" I have n't done so badly ! " she protested.
" No, for you have not been set easy tasks. Can you
tell me, though, where that young Englishman dis-
appeared to when he left the Cafe Montmartre before
your very eyes ? Can you tell me whether the secret
service got hold of his story, how much the French
Government believed of it, whether they have communi-
cated with the English Government, and how much
they know ? Beyond these things, it is not your
province to see, or mine, Mademoiselle, and it is not for
us to guess at or inquire into the meaning of things.
Tell me, is it worth while to have this man Pelham put
out of the way for a time ? "
She shook her head.
" I do not think so," she answered. " He is quite
stupid. The other. Sir George Buncombe, he was
different. If he had stayed in Paris he would have been
284 A MAKER OF HISTOEY
A bell rang. The man rose.
« The chief ! " he said. " Be at the cafd to-night."
Mademoiselle went away thoughtfully.
"It is over this affair," she said to herself. "Carl
A NEWSPAPER SENSATION
SPENCER, whose recovery during the last few days
had been as rapid as the first development of his
indisposition, had just changed for dinner, and was light-
ing a cigarette d'appertit when, without waiting to be
announced, the Yicomte de Bergillac entered the room.
Spencer, with lightning-like intuition, knew that his
time was come.
" Off with your coat, man, and get your code books out.
I am going to give you the most sensational story which
has ever appeared in your paper!" he exclaimed.
" Only, remember this ! It must appear to-morrow
morning. I am arranging for the French papers to
have it. Yours shall be the only English journal.
Glance through these sheets. They contain the story
of V affaire Poynton ! "
Spencer was master of the gist of the thing in a
very few moments. His eyes were bright with ex-
" Who guarantees this ? " he asked quickly.
"My uncle has signed it," Henri de Bergillac an-
swered, " and at the bottom of the page there you will
see a still more distinguished signature. You under-
stand V affaire Poynton now ? It is very simple. That
English boy actually witnessed a meeting between the
Czar and the Emperor, and turns up in Paris with a
286 A MAKEE OF HISTORY
loose vsheet of a treaty between the two, relative to an
attack upon England. Our people got hold of him at
the Caf^ Montmartre, and we have hidden him away
ever since. Our friends, the Germans, who seem to
have had some suspicions about him, have filled the
city with spies, but from the first we have kept them
off the scent. We had a little difficulty in convincing
our friends your country-people, but we managed to bor-
row a few papers from the German Ambassador whilst
he was staying at a country-house in England, which
Spencer was already writing. His coat lay on the
floor where he had thrown it.
" Don't go for a moment, De Bergillac," he said. " I
want to ask you a few things. I can talk and code at
the same time. What about Miss Poynton ? "
" Well, we had to take care of her too," De Bergillac
said. " Of course all her inquiries over here would
have led to nothing, but they knew her at the English
Embassy, so we walked her off from the Caf^ Mont-
martre one night and took her to a friend of mine, the
Marquise de St. Ethol. We told her a little of the
truth, and a little, I 'm afraid, which was an exaggera-
tion. Anyhow, we kept her quiet, and we got her to
go to England for us with Toquet. They had a very
narrow shave down at Runton, by the by."
"After this," Spencer said with a smile, "the secret
service people proper will have to look to their laurels.
It is a triumph for the amateurs."
The Vicomte twirled his tiny black moustache.
" Yes," he said, " we have justified ourselves. It has
cost us something, though ! "
A MAKEE OF HISTOEY 287
Spencer stopped writing.
** It was an affair of a million francs," the Vicomte
said. " I hope he has got the money."
Spencer resumed his work.
"The Baron a traitor!" he exclaimed. "^\Tiere
" In England ! We are not vindictive. If the Ger-
mans paid him a million francs they got nothing for it.
He has been watched from the first. We knew of it the
moment he came to terms with them. He only knows
bare facts. Nothing beyond. He is going to Brazil, I
think. We shall not interfere."
"Tell me why," Spencer said, "you were so down on
all of us who joined in the search for the Poyntons."
" We could not afford to run any risks of your dis-
covering a clue," De Bergillac answered, " because you
in your turn were closely watched by German spies,
hoping to discover them through you. That is why we
had to strike hard at all of you who interfered. I
was sorry for little Flossie — but she knew the risk
she ran. We had to stop you, induce Duncombe to
leave Paris, and knock on the head a fool of an Eng-
lish detective for fear he might discover something.
Monsieur Pelham was getting into danger, but, of
course, it is all over now. To-morrow we are bringing
Guy into Paris."
" Where is Duncombe ? " he asked.
"Back in Paris," De Bergillac answered. ''Arrived
here with me to-day. He is much in love with the
beautiful sister. Alas ! It was to him that she en-
trusted the missing page of that treaty which she
288 A MAKER OF HISTORY
found in her brother's luggage. Some day I must
tell you of my adventures in England last night, when
I went over to get it and found Louis a little ahead
" Some day," Spencer murmured, writing for dear life,
with the perspiration streaming down his forehead.
" My dear Vicomte, do you mind ringing the bell ?
I want my servant. I must telegraph my paper to
warn them of this. They must clear two columns of
type for me."
The Yicomte did as he was asked. Then he turned
towards the door.
" I will leave you," he said. " The dust of England
is still in my throat. Absinthe, a bath and dinner !
Au revoir, mon ami! Confess that I have kept the
promise which Louis made you. It is what you call a
coup this, eh ? "
Out on the boulevards the papers were selling like
wildfire. The Vicomte bought one, and sitting do^Ti
outside a caf^ ordered absinthe. The great headlines
attracted him at once. He sipped his absinthe and
smiled to himself.
" The play commences ! " he murmured. " I must
return to Monsieur Spencer."
Spencer was still working like a madman.
" I must interrupt you for a moment," De Bergillac
said. "I have brought you an evening paper. The
Baltic Fleet has sunk half a dozen English fishing-
boats and the whole country is in a frenzy. It is the
"Leave the paper, there's a good fellow," he said.
" I will look it through presently. If there is time —
A MAKER OF HISTORY 289
if there is only time this will be the greatest night of
my life. No other paper has a hint, you say ? "
" Not one ! "
" If I could put back the clock a single hour,"
Spencer muttered. " Never mind ! Williams, more
sheets ! "
De Bergillac took his leave. He had telephoned for
his motor, which was waiting outside. He gave the
order to drive to his rooms. On the way he passed
the great pile of buildings in the Louvre. In a room
at the extreme end of the pile a light was burning.
De BergiUac looked at it curiously. A small brougham,
which he recognized, stood outside.
" If one could see inside," he muttered. " It should
be interesting ! "
In a sense it was interesting. Monsieur Grisson sat
there in front of his open table. His secretary's place
by his side was vacant. Opposite sat a tall man with
gray hair and dark moustache. He was dressed for
the evening, and his breast glittered with stars and
" It is exceedingly kind of you, Monsieur," he said,
" to gi^ant me this interview at so short notice. I was
most anxious to apprise you of news, which as yet I
believe has not found its way into 3^our papers. You
have read accounts of a Eussian attack upon an English
fishing-fleet, but you have not yet been informed of
the presence — the undoubted presence — of Japanese
torpedo-boats concealed amongst them."
Monsieur Grisson raised his eyebrow^s.
" Indeed no ! " he answered. " We have not even
heard a rumor of anything of the sort."
290 A MAKEE OF HISTOKY
" Nevertheless, their presence was indubitable," the
Prince declared. "In those circumstances. Monsieur,
you can doubtless understand that our reply to any
protests on the part of England will be of an unpacific
nature. AVe should not for a moment allow ourselves
to be dictated to by the allies of our enemy."
" Naturally 1 " Monsieur Grisson answered. " On the
other hand, you surely do not wish to embroil yourself
in a quarrel with England at the present moment ? "
"We wish to quarrel with no one," the Prince
answered haughtily. "At the same time, we are not
afraid of England. We recognize the fact that if war
should come it is an independent affair, and does not
come under the obligations of our alliaQce. We ask,
therefore, for your neutrality alone."
Monsieur Grisson bowed.
"But, Prince," he said gravely, "you speak lightly
enough of the possibilities of war, but surely you must
know that the English fleet in the Channel and at
Gibraltar altogether outmatches the Baltic Fleet ? "
"A Eussian," the Prince answered grandly, "is not
afraid of great odds!"
Monsieur Grisson bowed.
"For the sake of humanity," he said, "I trust most
sincerely that the affair may be peaceably arranged.
If the contrary should turn out to be the case, I can only
say that in a quarrel which concerns Eussia and Eng-
land alone, France would remain benevolently neutral.
As you have remarked, the obligations of our treaty
do not apply to such a case."
The Prince played nervously with the star at his
chest. Both men were well aware that up to now they
had been merely playing with words.
A MAKER OF HISTOEY 291
" There is another contingency," the Eussian re-
marked, " which, now we are upon the subject, it would
perhaps be as well to allude to. The relations between
Germany and England, as you know, just now are very
sorely strained. If Germany should take advantage of
the present situation to make a demonstration against
England, that, of course, would not, from your point of
view, affect the situation ? "
Monsieur Grisson looked like a man who sees before
him amazing things.
" My dear Prince," he said, " do not let us mis-
understand one another. You cannot by any possi-
bility be suggesting that Germany might associate
herself with you in your resistance to possible English
demands ? "
The Eussian leaned back in his chair.
" Germany is on the spot," he remarked, " and knows
the fact of the case. She has proofs of the presence of
Japanese torpedo-boats amongst the English fishing-fleet.
Her natural love of fair play might possibly lead
her to espouse our cause in this particular instance.
This, of course, would make for peace. If Germany
commands, England will obey. She could not do
" You have introduced, my dear Prince," Monsieur
Grisson said, " an altogether new phase of this question,
and one which merits the most grave consideration.
Am I to understand that there is any arrangement
between Germany and yourself with respect to this
question ? "
"Scarcely anything so definite as an arrange-
ment," the Prince answered. " Merely an under-
standing ! "
292 A MAKEK OF HISTORY
Monsieur Grisson had the air of a man who had just
received grave tidings of his dearest friend.
" Is this, Monsieur le Prince," he said, " entirely in
accord with our own treaty obligations ? "
"We do not consider it to be in contravention to
them," the Prince answered.
The gravity of Monsieur Grisson's manner grew even
" My dear Prince," he said, " you are doubtless aware
that during the last few weeks there have been
some very strange rumors about as to a meeting be-
tween your master and the Emperor of Germany, and
an agreement which was forthwith signed between
them. I need not remark that all such rumors were
entirely discredited here. Such a meeting kept secret
from us would of course be very seriously considered
The Prince smiled. He remained admirably self-
possessed, though the very veins in his forehead were
swollen with anger.
" A canard of the sort has reached my ears," he re-
marked. " Some English boy, I believe, imagined or
dreamed that he saw some such meeting. We scarcely
need, I think, to discuss this seriously."
" Personally I agree with you," Monsieur Grisson
said smoothly. " My ministry, however, seem to have
been a little impressed by the boy's story. An auto-
graph letter from the Czar, denying it, would perhaps
make our negotiations more easy."
" It shall be forthcoming," the Prince remarked, rising.
" By the by, I hear reports of great activity from
Cherbourg. More manoeuvres, eh ? "
Monsieur Grisson shrugged his shoulders.
A MAKER OF HISTORY 293
" Our new naval chief," he remarked, " is a marvel
of industry. You know the English proverb about the
new broom, eh ? "
The Prince bowed.
"During the next few hours," he remarked, "many
things may happen. You will be always accessible ? "
"I shall not leave my post, Prince 1" Monsieur
Grisson answered. "You will find me here at any
THE MAN WHO SAVED HIS COUNTRY
ON the following morning the inhabitants of Lon-
don, Paris, Berlin, and St. Petersburg for a sum
varying from a halfpenny to a penny were treated
to sensa,tionalism as thrilling as any six-shilling
shocker hot from the press and assured of its half-
million circulation. One English and one French news-
paper outdid their competitors by publishing side by side
with their account of the exploits of the Eussian fleet
a marvellous but circumstantial story of a meeting and
alliance between the rulers of Germany and Eussia.
The eyes of the whole world were turned towards Kiel,
and more wonderful rumors still flashed backwards
and forwards along the wires throughout Europe. A
great mobilization can be kept secret up to a certain
point, but when men and ships are collected and ready
the truth must out.
At an unusually early hour Monsieur Grisson, sup-
ported now by two members of his ministry, received
a visit from the Eussian and German Ambassadors,
Prince Korndoff and Count von Munchen. The usual
compliments were quickly exchanged.
" I have asked my friend Count von Munchen to
accompany me," Prince Korndoff explained, " because
we are here to speak with you on a matter concerning
which our interests are identical. You have read the
demands which England has dared to lay before my
A MAKEE OF HISTORY 295
master with reference to the encounter in the North
Monsieur Grisson bowed.
"I have studied them with great interest," he ad-
"I do not need tell you then that they are scouted
with indignation by my master and his advisers,"
the Prince answered. " Neither shall we permit for
a single moment the detention of our fleet upon its
"That means, then, war with England," Monsieur
Grisson remarked quietly.
" Unless they instantly withdraw their insolent de-
mands — undoubtedly," the Prince answered.
Monsieur Grisson turned to the German.
" And you. Count," he asked, " how does this concern
" We also," the Count answered, " consider the de-
mands of England unwarrantable. We believe that
there were undoubtedly Japanese torpedo boats con-
cealed amongst the English fishing fleet, and we con-
sider that the action of the Admiral in command of the
Eussian fleet was fully justified."
" You are prepared, then, to give Eussia your moral
support?" the President asked.
" We are prepared to do more," the Count answered
boldly. "If England persists in her demands we are
prepared to demonstrate against her."
Monsieur Grisson assumed a very grave expression.
" I too," he said, " have lost no time in endeavor-
ing to solve the mystery of this North Sea incident. I
have been in communication with the English Am-
bassador, and I have collected all the evidence possible.
296 A MAKER OF HISTOEY
There is absolutely no proof obtainable of the presence
of any Japanese craft amongst the English fishing fleet.
I submit, therefore, that this is a case for arbitration. I
consider that up to the present our friends on the other
side of the Channel have displayed commendable mod-
eration in a time of great excitement, and I am happy
to say that I have the authority of Lord Fothergill him-
self for saying that they will consent to submitting the
affair to a commission of arbitration."
The President's words were received with chilling
silence. It was the Prince, who, after a short silence,
" Arbitration," he said coldly, " does not commend itself
to us. We have been insulted. Our country and our
gallant fleet have been held up to ridicule throughout
the whole English Press. We are tired of being dic-
tated to and bullied by a weaker Power — the openly
declared ally of our enemy. England has long been
seeking for a casus belli with us. At last she has found
Monsieur Grisson whispered for a moment to one
of his colleagues. Then he turned once more to the
" Let us understand one another. Monsieur le Prince ! "
he said, " and you, Count von Munchen ! You have
come to announce to me your intention to jointly make
war upon England. St. Petersburg is to refuse her de-
mands, England will naturally strike at the Baltic Fleet,
and Germany will send her fleet to the rescue, and at
the same time land troops somewhere in the North of
England. Eussia, I presume, will withdraw her troops
from Manchuria and strike at India ! "
" No, no ! " Count von Munchen protested. " I can
A MAKER OF IIISTOEY 297
assure you, Monsieur, it is not our intention to land a
single German soldier in England. We are interested
only to see fair play to Russia. We require that the
Baltic Fleet shall be allowed to go on its way without
The President faced the last speaker. His gray bushy
eyebrows met in a frown.
" Then what. Count," he asked, " is the meaning of
the mobilization of two hundred thousand men at Kiel ?
What is the meaning of your State railroads running
west being closed last night to all public traffic ? Why
have you cabled huge orders for Government supplies ?
Why were you running trains all last night to the coast ?
Do you suppose that our secret service slumbers — that
we are a nation of babies ? "
The Count made an effort to retain his composure.
" Monsieur le President," he said, " the reports which
have reached you have been much exaggerated. It is
necessary for us to back up our protests to England by
a show of force ! "
Monsieur Grisson smiled.
" Enough of this, gentlemen ! " he said. " We will
now talk to one another as men who have weighty
affairs to deal with simply and directly. The story
of the meeting between your two rulers which you.
Prince Korndoff, have alluded to as a fairy tale, was
a perfectly true one. I have known of that meeting
some time, and I have certain proof of what transpired
at it. The North Sea incident was no chance affair. It
was a deliberately and skilfully arranged casus helli,
although your admiral. Prince Korndoff, had to go one
hundred miles out of his way to find the Dogger Bank
fishing-fleet. You spoke to me last night of Cherbourg,
298 A MAKEE OF HISTOEY
Prince. I think that after all your secret service is
scarcely so successful as mine, for I can assure you that
you will find there all that is to be found to-day at Kiel."
The Prince was amazed.
" But, Monsieur le President," he exclaimed, " you
cannot mean — you, our ally "
The President extended a forefinger.
" It was no part of our alliance," he said sternly, " that
you should make a secret treaty with another Power and
keep hidden from us no less a scheme than the invasion
of England. My Cabinet have dealt with this matter on
its own merits. I have the honor to tell you, gentlemen,
that I have concluded an alliance with England to come
into effect in the case of your carrying out your present
intention. For every army corps you succeed in landing
in England I too shall land one, only, I think, with less
difficulty, and for every German ship which clears for
action in the North Sea two French ones will be pre-
pared to meet her."
" I think. Monsieur le President," he said stiffly, " that
this discussion had better be postponed until after I
have had an opportunity of communicating with my
Imperial master. I must confess, sir, that your attitude
is a complete surprise to me."
" As you will, sir," the President answered. " I am
perhaps more a man of affairs than a diplomatist, and I
have spoken to you with less reserve than is altogether
customary. But I shall never believe that diplomacy
which chooses the dark and tortuous ways of intrigue
and misrepresentation is best calculated to uphold and
strengthen the destinies of a great nation. I wish you
good morning, gentlemen ! "
A MAKER OF HISTORY 299
For forty-eight hours the war fever raged, and the
pendulum swung backwards and forwards. The cables
between Berlin and St. Petersburg were never idle.
There was a rumor, amongst those behind the scenes, of
an enormous bribe offered to France in return for her
neutrality alone. Its instantaneous and scornful refusal
practically brought the crisis to an end. The German
hosts melted away, and the Baltic Fleet passed on.
St. Petersburg accepted the British demands, and a
commission of arbitration was appointed. Henri de
Bergillac read out the news from the morning paper,
" C'est fini — V affaire Poynton I " he remarked. " You
can get ready as soon as you like, Guy. I am going to
take you into Paris to your sister ! "
Guy looked up eagerly.
" My pardon ? " he asked.
The Vicomte made a wry face.
" Heavens ! " he exclaimed, " I forgot that there were
still explanations to make. Fill your abominable
pipe, mon ami, and think that to-morrow or the next
day you may be in your beloved England. Think
how well we have guarded you here when a dozen men
were loose in Paris who would have killed you on sight.
Ptemember that in the underground history of England
you will be known always as the man who saved his
country. I shouldn't wonder in the least if you were n't
decorated when you get home. Think of all these
things — hard ! "
" All right ! " Guy answered. " Go ahead I "
" You never killed any one. The duel was a fake.
You were — not exactly sober. That was entirely our
fault, and we had to invent some plan to induce you
300 A MAKER OF HISTORY
to come into hiding peacefully. Voil^ tout ! It is
forgiven ? "
Guy laughed a great laugh of relief.
" Kather ! " he exclaimed. " What an ass I must
have seemed, asking that old Johnny for a pardon."
The Vicomte smiled.
" The old Johnny, Guy, was the President of France.
He wanted to know afterwards what the devil you
Guy rose to his feet.
" If you tell me anything else," he said, " I shall want
to punch your head."
The Vicomte laughed.
" Come," he said, " I will return you to your adorable
sister ! "
A MERRY MEETING
MONSIEUE ALBEET was not often surprised, and
still less often did he show it. The party, how-
ever, who trooped cheerily into his little restaurant at
something after midnight on this particular morning,
succeeded in placing him at a disadvantage.
First there was the Vicomte de Bergillac, one of his
most important and influential patrons for many reasons,
whose presence alone was more than sufficient guarantee
for whoever might follow. Then there was the Marquise
de St. Ethol, one of the haute noblesse, to welcome whom
was a surpassing honor.
And then Monsieur Guy Poynton, the young English
gentleman, whose single appearance here a few weeks
back had started all the undercurrents of political in-
trigue, and who for the justification of French journal-
ism should at that moment have been slowly dying at
And with him the beautiful young English lady who
had come in search of him, and who, as she had left the
place in the small hours of the morning with Monsieur
Louis, should certainly not now have reappeared as
charming and as brilliant as ever, her eyes soft with
happiness, and her laugh making music more wonderful
than the violins of his little orchestra.
And following her the broad-shouldered young Eng-
lishman, Sir George Duncombe, who had once enter-
302 A MAKEK OF HISTORY
tained a very dangerous little party in his private room
upstairs, and against whom the dictum had gone forth.
And following him the Englishman with the heavy
glasses, whom Vaffairc Poynton had also brought before
to his caf^, and with whom Mademoiselle from Austria
had tailzied long and earnestly.
And lastly Monsieur Spencer, the English journalist,
also with a black cross after his name, but seemingly
altogether unconscious of it.
Monsieur Albert was not altogether at his best. Such
a mixture of sheep and goats confused him. It was the
Yicomte who, together with the head waiter, arranged a
redistribution of tables so that the whole party could sit
together. It was the Vicomte who constituted himself
host. He summoned Monsieur Albert to him.
"Albert," he said, with a little wave of the hand,
" these ladies and gentlemen are my friends. To quote
the words of my charming young companion here, Mon-
sieur Guy Poynton, whom you may possibly remem-
ber " — Monsieur Albert bowed — " we are on the bust !
I do not know the precise significance of the phrase any
more than I suppose you do, but it means amongst other
things a desire for the best you have to eat and to drink.
Bring Pomeroy '92, Albert, and send word to your chef
that we desire to eat without being hungry I "
Monsieur Albert hurried away, glad of the opportunity
to escape. Guy leaned back in his chair and looked
around with interest.
" Same old place," he remarked, " and by Jove, there 's
the young lady from Austria."
The young lady from Austria paid her bill and de-
parted somewhat hastily. The Yicomte smiled.
"I think we shall frighten a few of them away to-
A MAKER OF IIISTOEY 303
night ! " he remarked. " The wine ! Good ! AYe shall
need magnums to drown our regrets, if indeed our
English friends desert us to-morrow. Monsieur Guy
Poynton, unconscious maker of history and savior of
your country, I congratulate you upon your whole skin,
and I drink your liealth."
Guy drank, and, laughing, refilled his glass.
"And to you, the best of amateur conspirators and
most charming of hosts," he said. " Come soon to
England and bring your automobile, and we will con-
spire against you with a policeman and a stopwatch."
The Vicomte sighed and glanced towards Phyllis.
" In happier circumstances I " he murmured, and then
catching the Marquise's eye, he was silent.
The band played English music, and the chef sent
them up a wonderful omelette. Mademoiselle Ermine,
from the Folies Bergferes, danced in the small space
between the tables, and the Yicomte, buying a cluster of
pink roses from the flower-girl, sent them across to her
with a diamond pin in the ribbon. The Marquise re-
buked him half seriously, but he only laughed.
" To-night," he said, " is the end of a great adventure.
"We amateurs have justified our existence. , To-night I
give away all that I choose. Ah, Angfele ! " he mur-
mured, in her dainty little ear, " if I had but a heart to
give I "
She flashed a quick smile into his face, but her fore-
head was wrinkled.
" You have lost it to the young English miss. She is
beautiful, but so cold ! "
" Do you think so ? " he whispered. " Look ! "
Phyllis was seated next Buncombe, and he too
was whispering something in her ear. The look with
304 A MAKEE OF IIISTOEY
which she answered him, told all that there was to
know. The Marquise, who had intercepted it, shrugged
" It is not worth while, my friend, that you break your
heart," she murmured, " for that one can see is an affair
" After all," he said, " the true Frenchman loves only
in his own country."
" Or in any other where he may chance to be," she
answered drily. " Never mind, Henri ! I shall not let
you wander very far. Your supper-party has been de-
lightful — but you see the time ! "
They trooped down the narrow stairs laughing
and talking. Buncombe and Phyllis came last, and
their hands met for an instant behind the burly com-
" Until to-morrow ! "
" Until to-morrow," she echoed softly, as he handed
her into the electric coupe.
Andrew and he drove down the hill together. Dun-
combe was a little ill at ease.
" There is one thing, Andrew," he said, " which I
should like to say to you. I want you to remember
the night in your garden, when you asked me to come
to Paris for you."
" Yes ? "
" I warned you, did n't I ? I knew that it would come,
and it has ! "
Andrew smiled in gentle scorn.
" My dear Buncombe," he said, " why do you think
it necessary to tell me a thing so glaringly apparent ?
I have nothing to blame you for. It was a foolish dream
A MAKEE OF IIISTOEY 305
of mine, which I shall easily outlive. For, George, this
has been a great day for me. I believe that my time for
dreams has gone by."
Duncombe turned towards him with interest.
" "What do you mean, Andrew ? "
" I have teen to see Foudroye, the great oculist. He
has examined my eyes carefully, and he assures me posi-
tively that my eyesight is completely sound. In two
months' time I shall see as well as any one 1 "
Buncombe's voice shook with emotion. He grasped
his friend's hand.
" That is good — magnificent, Andrew ! " he declared.
Their carriage rattled over the cobbled stones as they
crossed the Square. The white mysterious dawn was
breaking over Paris. Andrew threw his head back with
" Back into the world, George, where dreams are only
the cobwebs of time, and a man's work grows beneath
his hands like a living statue to the immortals. I feel
my hands upon it, and the gi'eat winds blowing.
Thank God 1 "
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